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JSPES, Vol. 31, No. 4 (Winter 2006 )
pp. 415 - 446

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

James Toole

Indiana University-Purdue University
Fort Wayne

April Henning

The City University of New York

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.