Constructive Criticism: Shaming, Incentives, and Human Rights Reforms

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Shaming is an increasingly common practice. However, empirical evidence suggest that it does not always induce human rights (HR) reforms, and its effect is conditioned by intervening factors. This article hypothesizes that the combination of shaming and incentives induces policy changes in targeted countries. The hypothesis is tested using newly coded data that include 15 countries from Europe, Asia, and Africa that have been subject to the combination of shaming and incentives, as part of the European Neighborhood Policy. The article analyzes changes in the studied countries' HR policies. The results confirm the hypothesis that shaming and incentives enhance one another's effects on HR policies and induce policy reforms in targeted countries. Related Articles: Collins, Stephen D. 2010. “Regional Trade Agreements and Democracy Promotion: Measuring the Influence of Democracy Requirements in Regional Trade Agreements.” Politics & Policy 38 (4):737-764. Waheduzzaman, Wahed, and Sharif As-Saber. 2015. “Politics and Policy in Achieving Participatory Governance in a Developing Country Context.” Politics & Policy 43 (4): 474-501. Walsh, James I. 2005. “Persuasion in International Politics: A Rationalist Account.” Politics & Policy 33 (4): 642-670. Related Media: Looking East. 2015. “Towards a New European Neighbourhood Policy.” IPPA Public Policy. 2016. “Guy Peters on New Institutionalism.” Council of the European Union. 2017. “Protection and Promotion of Human Rights.”

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-83
Number of pages26
JournalPolitics and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Policy Studies Organization


  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Economic Coercion
  • Europe
  • European Neighborhood Policy
  • Human Rights
  • Human Rights Policies
  • Incentives
  • New Institutionalism
  • Policy Change
  • Rational Institutionalism
  • Shaming
  • Sociological Institutionalism


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