DP7026 The Strategic Determinants of U.S. Human Rights Reporting: Evidence from the Cold War

Author(s): Nancy Qian, David Yanagizawa-Drott
Publication Date: October 2008
Keyword(s): International Relations, Political Economy, War
JEL(s): F5, N4, P16
Programme Areas: Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7026

This paper uses a country-level panel dataset to test the hypothesis that the United States biases its human rights reports of countries based on the latters? strategic value. We use the difference between the U.S. State Department?s and Amnesty International?s reports as a measure of U.S. "bias". For plausibly exogenous variation in strategic value to the U.S., we compare this bias between U.S. Cold War (CW) allies to non-CW allies, before and after the CW ended. The results show that allying with the U.S. during the CW significantly improves reports on a country?s human rights situation from the U.S. State Department relative to Amnesty International.