Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-4hhp2 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-26T18:32:18.043Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

The Effects of Naming and Shaming on Public Support for Compliance with International Agreements: An Experimental Analysis of the Paris Agreement

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 September 2021

Get access


How does naming and shaming affect public support for compliance with international agreements? We investigated this question by conducting survey experiments about the Paris Agreement, which relies on social pressure for enforcement. Our experiments, administered to national samples in the United States, produced three sets of findings. First, shaming by foreign countries shifted domestic public opinion in favor of compliance, increasing the political incentive to honor the Paris Agreement. Second, the effects of shaming varied with the behavior of the target. Shaming was more effective against partial compliers than against targets that took no action or honored their obligations completely. Moreover, even partial compliers managed to reduce the effects of shaming through the strategic use of counter-rhetoric. Third, identity moderated responses to shaming. Shaming by allies was not significantly more effective than shaming by non-allies, but Democrats were more receptive to shaming than Republicans. Overall, our experiments expose both the power and the limits of shaming as a strategy for enforcing the Paris Agreement. At the same time, they advance our understanding of the most significant environmental problem facing the planet.

Research Note
Copyright © The IO Foundation, 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Adler-Nissen, Rebecca. 2014. Stigma Management in International Relations: Transgressive Identities, Norms, and Order in International Society. International Organization 68 (1):143–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ausderan, Jacob. 2014. How Naming and Shaming Affects Human Rights Perceptions in the Shamed Country. Journal of Peace Research 51 (1):8195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ayoub, Phillip M. 2014. With Arms Wide Shut: Threat Perception, Norm Reception, and Mobilized Resistance to LGBT Rights. Journal of Human Rights 13 (3):337–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bailey, Jennifer L. 2008. Arrested Development: The Fight to End Commercial Whaling As a Case of Failed Norm Change. European Journal of International Relations 14 (2):289318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barrett, Scott, and Dannenberg, Astrid. 2016. An Experimental Investigation into “Pledge and Review” in Climate Negotiations. Climatic Change 138:339–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bassan-Nygate, Lotem. 2021. The Micro-Foundations of Naming and Shaming: Evidence from Proposed Annexation of the West Bank. Working paper. University of Wisconsin–Madison.Google Scholar
Bechtel, Michael M., and Scheve, Kenneth F.. 2013. Mass Support for Global Climate Agreements Depends on Institutional Design. PNAS 110 (34):13763–68.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bechtel, Michael, Scheve, Kenneth F., and van Lieshout, Elisabeth. 2020. Constant Carbon Pricing Increases Support for Climate Action Compared to Ramping Up Costs Over Time. Nature Climate Change 10 (11):1004–09.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beiser-McGrath, Liam F., and Bernauer, Thomas. 2019. Commitment Failures Are Unlikely to Undermine Public Support for the Paris Agreement. Nature Climate Change 9:248–52.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bernauer, Thomas, and Gampfer, Robert. 2015. How Robust Is Public Support for Unilateral Climate Policy? Environmental Science and Policy 54:316–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bernauer, Thomas, Kalbhenn, Anna, Koubi, Vally, and Spilker, Gabriele. 2013. Is There a “Depth Versus Participation” Dilemma in International Cooperation? Review of International Organizations 8:477–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brutger, Ryan, and Kertzer, Joshua D.. 2018. A Dispositional Theory of Reputation Costs. International Organization 72 (3):693724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brutger, Ryan, Kertzer, Joshua D., Renshon, Jonathan, Tingley, Dustin, and Weiss, Chagai M.. 2021. Abstraction and Detail in Experimental Design. Working paper, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
Búzás, Zoltán I. 2018. Is the Good News About Law Compliance Good News About Norm Compliance? The Case of Racial Equality. International Organization 72 (2):351–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Carnegie, Allison, and Carson, Austin. 2018. The Spotlight's Harsh Glare: Rethinking Publicity and International Order. International Organization 72 (3):627–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chrun, Elizabeth, Dolšak, Nives, and Prakash, Aseem. 2016. Corporate Environmentalism: Motivations and Mechanisms. Annual Review of Environmental Resources 41: 341–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chu, Jonathan, and Kitagawa, Risa. 2021. The Impact of Political Apologies on Public Opinion. World Politics 73(3): 441–81.Google Scholar
Dai, Xinyuan. 2005. Why Comply? The Domestic Constituency Mechanism. International Organization 59 (2):363–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, David R., Murdie, Amanda, and Steinmetz, Coty Garnett. 2012. “Makers and Shapers”: Human Rights INGOs and Public Opinion. Human Rights Quarterly 34 (1):199224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dixon, Jennifer M. 2017. Rhetorical Adaptation and Resistance to International Norms. Perspectives on Politics 15 (1):8399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Downs, George W., and Rocke, David M.. 1995. Optimal Imperfection? Domestic Uncertainty and Institutions in International Relations. Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Druckman, James N., and Lupia, Arthur. 2016. Preference Change in Competitive Political Environments. Annual Review of Political Science 19:1331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Egan, Patrick J., and Mullin, Megan. 2017. Climate Change: US Public Opinion. Annual Review of Political Science 20:209–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Entman, Robert M. 2004. Projections of Power: Framing News, Public Opinion, and US Foreign Policy. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Falkner, Robert. 2016. The Paris Agreement and the New Logic of International Climate Politics. International Affairs 92 (5):1107–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Finnemore, Martha. 1996. National Interests in International Society. Cornell University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Finnemore, Martha, and Sikkink, Kathryn. 1998. International Norm Dynamics and Political Change. International Organization 52 (4):887917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Finnemore, Martha, and Sikkink, Kathryn. 2001. Taking Stock: The Constructivist Research Program in International Relations and Comparative Politics. Annual Review of Political Science 4 (1):391416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hafner-Burton, Emilie M. 2008. Sticks and Stones: Naming and Shaming the Human Rights Enforcement Problem. International Organization 62 (4):689716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hayes, Danny, and Guardino, Matt. 2011. The Influence of Foreign Voices on US Public Opinion. American Journal of Political Science 55 (4):830–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hendrix, Cullen S., and Wong, Wendy H.. 2013. When Is the Pen Truly Mighty? Regime Type and the Efficacy of Naming and Shaming in Curbing Human Rights Abuses. British Journal of Political Science 43 (3):651–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hillygus, D. Sunshine, and Shields, Todd G.. 2009. The Persuadable Voter. Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hornsey, Matthew J., and Imani, Armin. 2004. Criticizing Groups from the Inside and the Outside: An Identity Perspective on the Intergroup Sensitivity Effect. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 30 (3):365–83.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jacquet, Jennifer, and Jamieson, Dale. 2016. Soft but Significant Power in the Paris Agreement. Nature Climate Change 6 (7):643–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johns, Leslie. 2014. Depth Versus Rigidity in the Design of International Trade Agreements. Journal of Theoretical Politics 26 (3):468–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keck, Margret E., and Sikkink, Kathryn. 1998. Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Kelley, Judith G., and Simmons, Beth A.. 2015. Politics by Number: Indicators as Social Pressure in International Relations. American Journal of Political Science 59 (1):5570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kelley, Judith G., and Simmons, Beth A.. 2019. Introduction: The Power of Global Performance Indicators. International Organization 73 (3):491510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kertzer, Joshua D., and Brutger, Ryan. 2016. Decomposing Audience Costs: Bringing the Audience Back into Audience Cost Theory. American Journal of Political Science 60 (1):234–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Koremenos, Barbara, Lipson, Charles, and Snidal, Duncan. 2001. The Rational Design of International Institutions. International Organization 55 (4):761800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krain, Matthew. 2012. J'accuse! Does Naming and Shaming Perpetrators Reduce the Severity of Genocides or Politicides? International Studies Quarterly 56 (3):574–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leiserowitz, Anthony, Edward, Maibach, Seth, Rosenthal, John, Kotcher, Parrish, Bergquist, Matthew, Ballew, Matthew, Goldberg, Abel, Gustafson, and Xinran, Wang. 2020. Climate Change in the American Mind: April 2020. Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Available at <>.CrossRef.>Google Scholar
Lind, Jennifer. 2009. The Perils of Apology: What Japan Shouldn't Learn from Germany. Foreign Affairs, May/June, 132–46.Google Scholar
Lind, Jennifer. 2011. Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics. Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Lyon, Thomas P., and Montgomery, A. Wren. 2015. The Means and End of Greenwash. Organization and Environment 28 (2):223–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Malhotra, Neil, Monin, Benoît, and Tomz, Michael. 2019. Does Private Regulation Preempt Public Regulation? American Political Science Review 113 (1):1937.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mitchell, Ronald. 2006. Problem Structure, Institutional Design, and the Relative Effectiveness of International Environmental Agreements. Global Environmental Politics 6 (3):7289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mitchell, Ronald, Andonova, Liliana B., Axelrod, Mark, Balsiger, Jörg, Bernauer, Thomas, Green, Jessica F., Hollway, James, Kim, Rakhyun E., and Morin, Jean-Frédéric. 2020. What We Know (and Could Know) About International Environmental Agreements. Global Environmental Politics 20 (1):103–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Murdie, Amanda, and Bhasin, Tavishi. 2011. Aiding and Abetting: Human Rights INGOs and Domestic Protest. Journal of Conflict Resolution 55 (2):163–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Murdie, Amanda M., and Davis, David R.. 2012. Shaming and Blaming: Using Events Data to Assess the Impact of Human Rights INGOs. International Studies Quarterly 56 (1):116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Murdie, Amanda, and Peksen, Dursun. 2014. The Impact of Human Rights INGO Shaming on Humanitarian Interventions. Journal of Politics 76 (1):215–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Murdie, Amanda, and Urpelainen, Johannes. 2015. Why Pick on Us? Environmental INGOs and State Shaming As a Strategic Substitute. Political Studies 63 (2):353–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Renshon, Jonathon. 2017. Fighting for Status. Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Risse, Thomas, Ropp, Stephen C., and Sikkink, Kathryn, eds. 1999. The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change. Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Risse, Thomas, Ropp, Stephen C., and Sikkink, Kathryn, eds. 2013. The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance. Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rosendorff, B. Peter, and Milner, Helen V.. 2001. The Optimal Design of International Trade Institutions: Uncertainty and Escape. International Organization 55 (4):829–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Simmons, Beth A. 2009. Mobilizing for Human Rights. Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Snyder, Jack. 2020. Backlash Against Naming and Shaming: The Politics of Status and Emotion. British Journal of Politics and International Relations 22 (4):644–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Terman, Rochelle. 2019. Rewarding Resistance: Theorizing Defiance to International Shaming. Working paper, University of Chicago.Google Scholar
Terman, Rochelle. 2020. Backlash: Defiance, Human Rights, and the Politics of Shame. Working paper, University of Chicago.Google Scholar
Terman, Rochelle, and Byun, Joshua. Forthcoming. Punishment and Politicization in the International Human Rights Regime. American Political Science Review.Google Scholar
Terman, Rochelle, and Voeten, Erik. 2018. The Relational Politics of Shame: Evidence from the Universal Periodic Review. Review of International Organizations 13 (1):123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tingley, Dustin, and Tomz, Michael. 2014. Conditional Cooperation and Climate Change. Comparative Political Studies 47 (3):344–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tingley, Dustin, and Tomz, Michael. 2020. International Commitments and Domestic Opinion: The Effect of the Paris Agreement on Public Support for Policies to Address Climate Change. Environmental Politics 29 (7):1135–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tomz, Michael. 2007a. Domestic Audience Costs in International Relations: An Experimental Approach. International Organization 61 (4):821–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tomz, Michael. 2007b. Reputation and International Cooperation: Sovereign Debt Across Three Centuries. Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Towns, Ann E. 2012. Norms and Social Hierarchies: Understanding International Policy Diffusion “From Below.” International Organization 66 (2):179209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Trager, Robert F., and Vavreck, Lynn. 2011. The Political Costs of Crisis Bargaining: Presidential Rhetoric and the Role of Party. American Journal of Political Science 55 (3):526–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wachman, Allan M. 2001. Does the Diplomacy of Shame Promote Human Rights in China? Third World Quarterly 22 (2):257–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wallace, Geoffrey P.R. 2013. International Law and Public Attitudes Toward Torture: An Experimental Study. International Organization 67 (1):105–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zaller, John R. 1992. The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion. Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: Link

Tingley and Tomz Dataset

Supplementary material: PDF

Tingley and Tomz supplementary material

Tingley and Tomz supplementary material

Download Tingley and Tomz supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 3.3 MB