Erik Voeten

Too Much Human Rights Work?

Over at Foreign Affairs, Jacob Mchangama and Guglielmo Verdirame argue that international human rights institutions have proliferated to the extent that they have become counter-productive: If human rights were a currency, its value would be in free fall, thanks to a gross inflation in the number of human rights treaties and nonbinding international instruments adopted by international organizations over… Read more »

Did Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law Increase Firearm Homicides?

Probably. At least two empirical papers have found that Stand Your Ground (SYG) laws like the one in Florida are associated with an average increase rather than a decrease in firearm homicides. This plausibly occurs because the deterrent effects of such laws are outweighed by the increase in the range of legal defenses for the… Read more »

How Often Do Coups Lead to Elections?

As a commentator on Jeremy Pressman’s excellent blog post noted, Hein Goemans and Nikolay Marinov’s research on the rise of the guardian coup is highly relevant for interpreting what is likely to transpire in Egypt (see here our earlier blog). Below is the abstract of their article (ungated), now forthcoming in the British Journal of… Read more »

The Political Economy of Edward Snowden

It seems like Edward Snowden has offered his citizenship to at least 21 countries via auction from Moscow’s airport transit area. It is not yet clear if anyone will bid but it is interesting nonetheless to analyze what Mr. Snowden is trying to sell and why anyone would buy. Snowden essentially has two assets: sensitive… Read more »

How the Supreme Court Responds to Public Opinion

It has been rather challenging for legal scholars to portray the Supreme Court opinions of the past few days as somehow following logically from precedent or even from the past judgments of individual justices. As University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner puts it on Slate: [..] trying to find a jurisprudential explanation for this opinion,… Read more »