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A Panel Analysis on the Effects of the Women´s Convention -Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Seo-Young Cho (George-August University of Göttingen). Motivation: can democracy increase the effectiveness of a human rights convention?.

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A Panel Analysis on the Effects of the Women´s Convention-Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)Seo-Young Cho (George-August University of Göttingen)

IPES 2009

Motivation can democracy increase the effectiveness of a human rights convention
Motivation: can democracy increase the effectiveness of a human rights convention?

  • Recurring question in political economy:

  • Is an international convention on human rights effective?

  • ‘Cheap talk’ (Downs et. al., IO 1996) vs. ‘spread of international norm’ (Koh, ILJ 1998)

  • No consensus in both theoretical and empirical discussions

  • Redirecting the question:

    In which condition can

    an international human rights treaty be effective?

     Focus on democracy as a crucial institutional condition

IPES 2009

Studies on democracy human rights and treaties
Studies on democracy, human rights and treaties human rights convention?

  • Democracy promotes the human rights practice of a country

  • Poe, Tate and Keith (ISQ 1999), Simmons (RPS 1998), Hafner-Burton and Tsutsui (AJS 2005)

  • Respect for law, justice, judicial independence and civil participation

  • Does democracy enhance the effectiveness of the international legal mechanism of human rights norms?

  • Only one empirical study: Neumayer (JCR 2005)

  • His findings: positive interaction effect bet. the membership of HR treaties (ICCP, Torture, other regional conventions) and democracy on HR practice

IPES 2009

Cedaw 1981 un
CEDAW (1981, UN) human rights convention?

  • The prime ‘Women’s Convention’

  • Comprehensive but a special focus on women’s social rights article 16 – core article

    article 5 calling for changes in social and cultural patterns

  • Innovative approaches attempting to change practice of family and social matters (deeply rooted and habituated in culture, Simmons 2004)

  • Universal agreement (186 members)

    however, a large number of reservations (1/3 of members have reservations), in par. to the core articles (arc. 2 and 16, 1/5 of members)

IPES 2009

Does the cedaw improve women s rights
Does the CEDAW improve women’s rights? human rights convention?

Women’s Social Rights

CIRI Women’s Rights Index

(126 countries, 1981-2005)

Commitments to the CEDAW

weighted scale of reservations

(126 countries, 1981-2005)

IPES 2009

Hypotheses and focus of analysis
Hypotheses and Focus of Analysis human rights convention?

Hypothesis 1

The effects of the CEDAW on women’s rights are enhanced if combined with a higher level of democracy

Hypothesis 2

The effects of the CEDAW are most positively pronounced in the dimension of women’s social rights

Focus of Analysis

  • Estimation and interpretation of the interaction term – CEDAW and democracy – in a non-linear model

  • Reverse-causality issue: employing two exogenous instrumental variables, commitments to the Torture Convention (CAT) and Genocide Convention (CPPCG)

IPES 2009

Measuring commitments to the cedaw
Measuring commitments to the CEDAW human rights convention?

  • Taking into account the large amount of reservations, membership alone does not reflect true commitments

  • Modification of Landman’s (2005) weighted scale of reservations

  • Special weights given to the core articles, arc. 2 and arc. 16

    0: No signatory

    1: Signed but not ratified

    2: Ratified but with reservations to arc. 2 and/or 16 (incl. general reservations based on conflicts with religious or domestic law)

    3: Ratified but with reservations to other articles than 2 and 16

    4: Full ratification without reservations

IPES 2009

Data and estimation method
Data and Estimation Method human rights convention?

  • Dependent variable: women’s social, political and economic rights, CIRI Human Rights Index

  • Independent variable of the main interest:

    - commitments to the CEDAW, proxied by reservations

    - interaction bet. CEDAW and democracy (PolityIV)

  • Selection of control variables: one-year lagged dependent variable, democracy, the number of HR NGOs, regime durability, external conflict, internal conflict, (log) population sizes, (log) per capita income and trade openness

    (Neumayer, JCR 2005; Hafner-Burton and Tsutsui, AJS 2005)

  • Time, religion and regions are controlled

IPES 2009

Women s rights ordered probit 1981 2005 126 countries
Women’s rights, ordered probit, 1981-2005, 126 countries human rights convention?

  • Positive effect on women’s social rights conditional to democracy

  • Positive effect of the CEDAW on political rights has to be interpreted with a caution, given the negative effect of the interaction term

  • Marginal effects of the interaction term calculated at the mean

  • Validity of the instruments: exogeneity (Hansen J test, P-value 0.33- 0.90)

IPES 2009

Effectiveness of the cedaw and the level of democracy
Effectiveness of the CEDAW and the level of democracy human rights convention?

The effect becomes significant after the median score 0

Dependent var:

women’s social rights

IPES 2009

Conclusion human rights convention?

  • Effectiveness of the CEDAW conditional on democracy

  • Effects differ across multi-dimensions of women’s rights the CEDAW advocates and the positive impact is confirmed for women’s social rights with the conditionality, the level of democracy

IPES 2009