International Organizations as Normative Agenda Setters: Social Influence and Reputational Costs in the effects of the International Human Rights Regime


This paper focuses on the question of how International Organizations (IOs) influence states. In particular, we assess the role of the mechanism of social influence in shaping states’ normative (discursive) behavior, by looking at the “reporting procedure” of the Human Rights Committee (HRC) of the United Nations (UN). Our study finds that in the definition of the substantive content of their “periodic reports,” states follow the human rights agenda set by the HRC in its “concluding observations.” In this sense, we provide systematic evidence that shows that, through social influence, even poorly “legalized” IOs can have an influence over state (discursive) practices

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University of Dayton

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This paper was published in University of Dayton.

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