Does International Moral Suasion Influence Democratic Development? The Nobel Peace Prize and Political Reform in Burma and East Timor

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The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, Vol: 31, Issue: 4

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Toole, James; Henning, April
The Council for Social and Economic Studies
Nobel Peace Prize; moral suasion; liberalization; democratization; Burma; Myanmar; East Timor; Timor-Leste; Political Science
article description
The Nobel Peace Prize can be viewed as an instrument of international moral suasion. This article asks how much, if at all, the Prize encourages authoritarian regimes to liberalize when awarded to dissident democratic activists. Using comparative case analysis of Burma and East Timor, it studies patterns in media coverage and in sanctions and aid policies imposed on the two countries’ regimes by important international actors. The Prize awards seem not to have encouraged political liberalization in any obvious way. They did raise international awareness of the two countries’ situations, but did not clearly increase outside pressures on the regimes.