Political Context and the Consequences of Naming and Shaming for Human Rights Abuse

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Taylor & Francis

Does being named and shamed for human rights abuse influence the amount of foreign aid received by the shamed state? Recent research suggests that the impact of public censure may depend on the political relationship between donor and recipient. We argue that donors deriving a direct political benefit from the aid relationship (such as a military advantage or the satisfaction of a domestic political audience) will ignore or work against condemnation, but donors with little political interest in the recipient (who give aid for symbolic or humanitarian reasons) will punish condemned states. We also argue that the size of prior aid packages can be used as a holistic measure of the donor’s political interest in the aid relationship because mutually beneficial aid packages are subject to a bargaining process that favors recipients with more to offer. We find that condemnation for human rights abuse by the United Nations is associated with lower bilateral aid levels among states that previously received small aid package, and with equal or higher bilateral aid to states already receiving a great deal of aid. The source of shaming also matters: We find that public shaming by human rights NGOs is not associated with decreased aggregate bilateral aid.

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Esarey, Justin and DeMeritt, Jacqueline H.R.. "Political Context and the Consequences of Naming and Shaming for Human Rights Abuse." International Interactions, 43, no. 4 (2017) Taylor & Francis: 589-618. https://doi.org/10.1080/03050629.2016.1223656.

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