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Do As Thy Neighbor? A Spatial Econometric Analysis of Human Rights

Citation: The Midwest Political Science Association, 2006, 32

Recent decades have seen a substantial increase in the development of international human rights laws (i.e, Steiner and Alston 1996) and in the number of international organizations aimed at furthering their respect (Keck and Sikkink 1998). Corresponding with those trends, a scholarly literature has quickly developed to explain why basic human rights are abused. Though a variety of human rights have been examined, the bulk of these studies have sought to explain why personal (or physical) integrity rights are violated by focusing upon the internal characteristics of states. In this study we take a different approach to the subject by focusing upon the degree to which states’?? propensities to use political repression cluster geographically. Our results show significant evidence of geographic linkages as an important factor in the spread of both political repression and respect for human rights, each of which carries important implications for both the scholarly and policymaking communities.

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