Is reciprocity possible in human rights agreements? This article argues that human rights agreements can create negative diffuse reciprocity if there is reliable information about countries’ compliance levels. The article analyses the link between information on countries’ non-compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the one hand, and countries’ efforts to protect social economic rights on the other. It finds that the more information is published on violations of rights, the lower the levels of countries’ efforts to protect these rights. This means that countries practice negative diffuse reciprocity with regard to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This is a notable finding since there are several factors working against the practice of reciprocity in human rights agreements. The article draws theoretical conclusions regarding the conditions for reciprocity in human rights agreements and sheds new light on the concept of reciprocity and its link with information.
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