Recent research has shown that state reporting to human rights monitoring bodies is associated with improvements in rights practices, calling into question earlier claims that self-reporting is inconsequential. Yet little work has been done to explore the theoretical mechanisms that plausibly account for this association. This Article systematically documents- A cross treaties, countries, and years-four mechanisms through which reporting can contribute to human rights improvements: Elite socialization, learning and capacity building, domestic mobilization, and law development. These mechanisms have implications for the future of human rights treaty monitoring.
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* Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota. ** Andrea Mitchell University Professor, University of Pennsylvania. For helpful feedback, the authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers at the American Journal of International Law, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Antonia Chayes, Jean Galbraith, Florencia Montal, Gerald L. Neuman, Gino Pauselli, Kathryn Sikkink, Anton Strezhnev, Katharine G. Young, and participants in the Perry World House Workshop at the University of Pennsylvania. The authors also thank Emily Graper, Ally Humpert, Audrey Johannes, Diana Li, Gemechu Mekonnen, Narayan Narasimhan, Andrea Ortiz, and Maria Sanchez for providing invaluable research assistance, and the University of Minnesota Human Rights Initiative for providing generous funding to support this research. All errors are our own.