Richie Wilcox

Richie Wilcox

Davis-Hodgkins House, 609 21st St. NW, Room 203


Office hours: by appointment

Current Research

Human Rights, International Organizations, Decision Theory, Quantitative Methodology


B.S. Utah Valley University


Dissertation Title: Improving Human Rights? UN Responses to State Oppression and Civil War, 1980-2004

Committee: James Lebovic (chair), Susan Sell, Eric Lawrence

Dissertation Abstract

My dissertation examines three UN responses to state repression and civil war that I argue can have a significant impact on human rights practices: shaming, sanctions, and peacekeeping/peace enforcement operations. I argue that the UN actions under consideration change human rights practices by directly and/or indirectly altering the costs and benefits of government repression. Of the three responses under investigation I argue that shaming and sanctions are the least likely to improve human rights, and in fact may increase human rights abuses, while peacekeeping/peace enforcement missions are the most likely to improve human rights. While shaming and sanctions do raise the costs of government repression, because these actions often cause domestic political instability they also increase the benefits to government leaders of violating human rights in order to maintain power. Peacekeeping/peace enforcement interventions, on the other hand, are able to raise the costs of repression without simultaneously raising the benefits, in some cases lowering them. This theoretical framework is tested using cross-sectional time-series models that make use of sophisticated propensity score analysis techniques such as optimal matching and simultaneous two-stage regression models as well as qualitative case studies of optimally matched control and treatment cases.

Major: International Relations

Minor: Comparative Politics