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Dangerous TradeArms Exports, Human Rights, and International Reputation$
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Jennifer Erickson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231170963

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231170963.001.0001

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“Responsible” Arms Transfer Policy and the Politics of Social Reputation

“Responsible” Arms Transfer Policy and the Politics of Social Reputation

(p.16) 2. “Responsible” Arms Transfer Policy and the Politics of Social Reputation
Dangerous Trade

Jennifer L. Erickson

Columbia University Press

This chapter outlines a theoretical argument of social reputation in explaining the states' commitment and compliance with “responsible” arms export controls. Generally, the argument holds that states support popular norms and policies in order to reap social benefits, such as positive self-image and increased international legitimacy. The argument proceeds in two parts. One is concerned with states seeking to signal that they possess the qualities of good international citizens, supporting peace and human rights. The other introduces the argument's domestic facet, claiming that the states' governments faced with arm trade scandal or the threat of it are more likely to seek improvements to their export practice, which is to conform more closely to policies and controls. The chapter finally provides alternative explanations premised on how states' interests—national security, economic gain, and defense boost—are conceived in conjunction to their commitment to meet international controls.

Keywords:   social reputation, arms export controls, international legitimacy, arm trade scandal, export practice, national security, economic gain, defense boost, international controls

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