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Human Rights, NGO Shaming and the Exports of Abusive States

  • Timothy M. Peterson, Amanda Murdie and Victor Asal

Does the attention of human rights organizations limit exports from rights-abusing states? This article examines how naming and shaming by human rights organizations (HROs) conditions the influence of human rights abuse on exports, and argues that human rights abuse alone is insufficient to damage a state’s exports. However, as attention to abuse via HRO shaming increases, abuse has an increasingly negative impact on exports. Importantly, this relationship is also conditional on the respect for human rights among importing states; human rights abuse, even if it is shamed, has no effect when importers are similarly abusive. Empirical tests utilizing gravity models of trade incorporating data on physical integrity rights abuse and HRO shaming in 1990–2008 yield strong support for our expectations.

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University of South Carolina (Email:; University of Georgia (Email:; SUNY Albany (Email: Data replication sets available at and online appendices available at 10.1017/S0007123416000065.

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