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Political Research Exchange

Conditional Influence: A Two-stage model of Public Opinion in Democracies and State Compliance with International Treaty Law

Presenter
Kathryn Schwarz
University College London
Authors
Kathryn Schwarz
University College London

Abstract
Public opinion as a factor for international law compliance—it is an assumption often made in the literature on compliance, but is has never been empirically tested. Moreover, public opinion and foreign policy literature is mixed regarding the influence public opinion has on policies in general. This paper offers a conceptual model of public opinion and state compliance with treaty law in an effort to begin to understand whether domestic public opinion influences a state’s decision to comply, or not comply, with international treaty law. Using the literature on compliance and the literature on public opinion and policy responsiveness, the model examines domestic and international factors that influence policymakers concerning issues of compliance. Due to the multitude of factors which affect policy decisions, the model suggests a skeptical approach should be taken when public opinion is suggested as a factor in international law compliance.
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