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Repression of Human Rights to Personal Integrity in the 1980s: A Global Analysis

  • Steven C. Poe (a1) and C. Neal Tate (a1)

Abstract

This crossnational study seeks to explain variations in governmental repression of human rights to personal integrity (state terrorism) in a 153-country sample during the eighties. We outline theoretical perspectives on this topic and subject them to empirical tests using a technique appropriate for our pooled cross-sectional time-series design, namely, ordinary least squares with robust standard errors and a lagged dependent variable. We find democracy and participation in civil or international war to have substantively important and statistically significant effects on repression. The effects of economic development and population size are more modest. The hypothesis linking leftist regime types to abuse of personal integrity rights receives some support. We find no reliable evidence that population growth, British cultural influence, military control, or economic growth affect levels of repression. We conclude by considering the implications of our findings for scholars and practitioners concerned with the prevention of personal integrity abuse.

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