Abstract: Although scholars are increasingly able to explain why states (do not) comply with human rights treaties, the role of social norms in compliance has been neglected. This is remarkable because human rights often directly address social norms. Our study aims to contribute to the existing literature by providing quantitative and qualitative evidence on the relationship between citizens’ social norms and compliance with human rights treaties. The quantitative results provide strong support for such a relationship. The findings from the additional qualitative analysis suggest that bargaining over (and thus changing) social norms is an important process through which compliance with human rights can be influenced.
Keywords: bargaining approach; compliance; human rights; human rights treaties; social norms