Where is the tipping point? bilateral trade and the diffusion of human rights

Xun Cao, Brian Greenhill, Aseem Prakash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Drawing on a panel of 136 countries over the period 1982-2004, we study a tipping point version of Vogel's 'California Effect' in the context of the diffusion of human rights practices. Because human rights practices are often deeply embedded in a society's customs and political institutions, we expect that a high level of pressure from the importing countries is needed to bring about changes in an exporting country's human rights records. We find strong empirical support for this threshold effect; provided that the average level of respect for human rights in importing countries is sufficiently high, trading relationships can operate as transmission belts for the diffusion of human rights practices from importing to exporting countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-156
Number of pages24
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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