Understanding the Domestic Impact of International Norms: A Research Agenda

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Abstract

Scholarship on international norms has recently begun to explore how domestic-level structures and processes affect compliance. This literature has identified the domestic legitimacy of an international norm as an important variable in accounting for the effects of norms on state behavior. But scholars have devoted insufficient attention to measuring the legitimacy or salience of international norms in the domestic arena and to identifying the pathways that lead to domestic salience. We offer insights that could lead to more systematic studies of the domestic impact of international norms. First, we propose a framework to measure the domestic salience of an international norm. Second, we identify four pathways by which an international norm can enter the national arena and one factor that conditions its impact on domestic political processes. The paper concludes by suggesting directions for future empirical research.

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