Advertisement

Human Rights Review

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 263–282 | Cite as

Voting and Human Rights in Democratic Societies

  • Nisha Mukherjee Bellinger
Article

Abstract

The majority of research on human rights focuses on the consequences of regime-type for human rights violations, and overwhelming evidence suggests that democracies are less likely to violate human rights of their citizens as compared to non-democracies. However, a regime-type perspective is unable to account for disparities in human rights violations within democratic and non-democratic regimes. This paper disaggregates regime-type and analyzes the relationship between citizens’ participation and human rights violations. I argue that a participative citizenry, as captured by high voter turnout, is indicative of an active and vigilant populace who are more likely to hold governments accountable and ensure better human rights protections. The paper tests the relationship between human rights and voter turnout among 89 democratic countries from 1976 to 2008. The findings demonstrate that a participative citizenry enhances governmental respect for human rights.

Keywords

Human rights Voter turnout Democratic regimes Citizen’s participation 

References

  1. Achen, Christopher H. 2000. “Why lagged dependent variables can suppress the explanatory power of other independent variables.” Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the Political Methodology Section of the American Political Science Association, UCLA.Google Scholar
  2. Arat, Zehra F. 1991. Democracy and Human Rights in Developing Countries. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  3. Banks, Arthur S. and Kenneth A. Wilson. 2013. "Cross-National Time-Series Data Archive." Databanks International. Jerusalem, Israel.Google Scholar
  4. Beck, Thorsten, George Clarke, Alberto Groff, Philip Keefer, and Patrick Walsh, 2001. "New tools in comparative political economy: The Database of Political Institutions." World Bank Economic Review, 15:1, 165–176 (September).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blais, André, Louis Massicotte, Antoine Yoshinaka 2001. “Deciding who has the right to vote: a comparative analysis of election laws.” Electoral Studies 20:41–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burstein, Paul. 1999. "Social Movements and Public Policy." in How Social Movements Matter, edited by M. Giugni, D. McAdam, and C. Tilly. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cheibub, Jose A., Jennifer Gandhi, and James Vreeland. 2010. “Democracy and Dictatorship Revisited.” Public Choice, 143(2–1), 67–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cingranelli, David L., David L. Richards, and K. Chad Clay. 2013. "The CIRI Human Rights Dataset." Retrieved from http://www.humanrightsdata.com
  9. Conrad, Courtenay R. and Will H. Moore. 2010. "What Stops the Torture?" American Journal of Political Science 54:459–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dahl, Robert A. 1971. Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Davenport, Christian. 1995. "Multi-Dimensional Threat Perception and State Repression: An Inquiry into Why States Apply Negative Sanctions." American Journal of Political Science 39:683–713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davenport, Christian. 1997. "From Ballots to Bullets: An Empirical Assessment of How National Elections Influence State Uses of Political Repression" Electoral Studies 16(4): 517–40.Google Scholar
  13. Davenport, Christian. 1998. "Liberalizing Event or Lethal Episode?: An Empirical Assessment of How National Elections Affect the Suppression of Political and Civil Liberties" Social Science Quarterly 79(2): 321–340.Google Scholar
  14. Davenport, Christian. 1999. "Human Rights and the Democratic Proposition." The Journal of Conflict Resolution 43:92–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Davenport, Christian and David A. Armstrong II. 2004. "Democracy and the Violation of Human Rights: A Statistical Analysis from 1976 to 1996." American Journal of Political Science 48:538–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Davenport, Christian. 2007. State Repression and the Domestic Democratic Peace. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  18. Fein, Helen. 1995. "More Murder in the Middle: Life-Integrity Violations and Democracy in the World, 1987." Human Rights Quarterly 17:170–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gasiorowski, Mark J. 1990. "The Political Regimes Project." Studies in Comparative International Development 25:109–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gasiorowski, Mark J. 1996. "An Overview of the Political Regime Change Dataset." Comparative Political Studies 29:469–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gastil, Raymond D. 1984. Freedom in the World. Westport: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  22. Gastil, Raymond D. 1988. Freedom in the World: Political Rights and Civil Liberties, 1987–1988. New York: Freedom House.Google Scholar
  23. Gastil, Raymond D. 1989. "The Comparative Survey of Freedom." Freedom at Issue 106:46–59.Google Scholar
  24. Gibney, Mark, Linda Cornett, and Peter Haschke. 2013. "Political Terror Scale 1976–2012." Date Retrieved, from the Political Terror Scale website: http://www.politicalterrorscale.org
  25. Gujarati, William H. 2003. Basic Econometrics, 4th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.Google Scholar
  26. Hartlyn, Jonathan and Arturo Valenzuela. 1994. "Democracy in Latin America since 1930." in Cambridge History of Latin America, edited by L. Bethell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Henderson, Conway W. 1991. "Conditions Affecting the Use of Political Repression." The Journal of Conflict Resolution 35:120–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Henderson, Conway. 1993. "Population Pressures and Political Repression" Social Science Quarterly 74:322–33.Google Scholar
  29. Huntington, Samuel P. 1991. The Third Wave: Democratization in the US Late Twentieth Century. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.Google Scholar
  30. Inkeles, Alex. 1969. “Participant Citizenship in Six Developing Countries.” American Political Science Review 63 (4): 1120–1141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance. 2013. Retrieved from http://www.idea.int/vt/
  32. Jaggers, Keith and Ted R. Gurr. 1995. "Tracking Democracy's Third Wave with the Polity III Data." Journal of Peace Research 32:469–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lasswell, Harold. 1950. Politics: Who Gets What, When and How. New York: P. Smith.Google Scholar
  34. Linz, Juan J. and Alfred Stepan. 1996. Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Marshall, Monty G. 2013. "Major Episodes of Political Violence (MEPV) and Conflict Regions, 1946–2012." Retrieved from http://www.systemicpeace.org/inscrdata.html
  36. Marshall, Monty G., Ted Robert Gurr, and Keith Jaggers. 2013. "Polity IV Project: Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800–2013." Retrieved from http://www.systemicpeace.org/inscrdata.html
  37. Mesquita Brice Bueno De, George W. Downs, Alastair Smith, and Feryal Marie Cherif. 2005. "Thinking inside the Box: A Closer Look at Democracy and Human Rights." International Studies Quarterly 49:439–457.Google Scholar
  38. Mitchell, Neil J. and James M. McCormick. 1988. "Economic and Political Explanations of Human Rights Violations." World Politics 40:476–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Olson, Mancur. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Threory of Groups Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Poe, Steven C. and C. Neal Tate. 1994. "Repression of Human Rights to Personal Integrity in the 1980s: A Global Analysis." The American Political Science Review 88:853–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Poe, Steven C., C. Neal Tate, and Linda Camp Keith. 1999. "Repression of the Human Right to Personal Integrity Revisited: A Global Cross-National Study Covering the Years 1976-1993." International Studies Quarterly 43:291–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Powell, G. Bingham. 1986. “American Voter Turnout in Comparative Perspective.” American Political Science Review 80(1): 17–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Regan, Patrick M. and Errol A. Henderson. 2002. "Democracy, Threats and Political Repression in Developing Countries: Are Democracies Internally Less Violent? " Third World Quarterly 23:119–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Richards, David L. 1999. “Human Rights and the Presence of National Elections.” Social Science Quarterly 80(4): 648–665.Google Scholar
  45. Richards, David L. and Ronald D. Gelleny. 2007 “Good Things to Those Who Wait? National Elections and Government Respect for Human Rights.” Journal of Peace Research 44(4): 505–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Riker, William H. 1965. Democracy in the United States. New York: Macmillan Company.Google Scholar
  47. Riker, William H. and Peter C. Ordeshook. 1968. "A Theory of the Calculus of Voting." American Political Science Review 62:25–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sanders, Elizabeth. 1980. "On the Costs, Utilities, and Simple Joys of Voting." Journal of Politics 42:854–863.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stephan, Maria J. and Erica Chenoweth. 2008. "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict." International Security 33:7–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Verba, Sidney. 1996. "The Citizen as Respondent: Sample Surveys and American Democracy Presidential Address, American Political Science Association, 1995." The American Political Science Review 90:1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady. 1995. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Democracy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Williams, Laron K. and Guy D. Whitte. 2012. “But Wait, There’s More! Maximizing Substantive Inferences from TSCS Models.” The Journal of Politics 74(3):685–693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Whitten-Woodring, Jenifer. 2009. "Watchdog or Lapdog? Media Freedom, Regime Type, and Government Respect for Human Rights." International Studies Quarterly 53:595–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. World Bank. 2013. "World Development Indicators." Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators
  55. Zanger, Sabine C. 2000. "A Global Analysis of the Effect of Political Regime Changes on Life Integrity Violations, 1977-93." Journal of Peace Research 37:213–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences & Cultural StudiesMontana State University BillingsBillingsUSA

Personalised recommendations