Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 January 2021
In this chapter, I begin by covering the legal definitional differences between treaty signature and treaty ratification. I discuss the two-step legal nature of signing and ratifying international treaty law and present an argument of when and why signature is important. I posit that states confronting domestic legislative barriers to ratification place an importance on the act of signature, as it is easier for these states to sign than it is to ratify. I examine the case of the United States and the historic hurdles confronted ratifying human rights law. Then, I statistically test the effect of signing human rights treaties on human rights behavior on the ICCPR and CEDAW treaties. I find that for states confronting domestic legislative barriers to ratification, signature is a significant indicator of improved human rights. This finding does not hold for states without such barriers.