Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Kevin Deegan-Krause


I create a revealed preference decision model using markers of structural and ideational input factors informing the writing, passage, funding, and enforcement of domestic legislation in implementation of the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol within 44 democratic states. Where are domestic rules responsible for observed displays of compliance, and where are outcomes attributable to structural factors that render the domestic rule-making process effectively irrelevant? Where the outcome of the rule-making process is predicted to matter, elites may use the content of these rules toward the goal of continued policy influence and electoral survival. Under this condition, I identify two discrete motivations as observable from state action: to avoid the full potential cost of Convention compliance, and to accept or exceed its full potential cost. Toward each of these aims, I identify two ideal-typical modes of elite response. Toward the goal of cost avoidance, elite behavior takes form along the polar continuum between instrumental action and instrumental inaction; toward the goal of cost acceptance, elite behavior takes form along the polar continuum between the instrumental uses of calls to increase cost originating from the international community and from the domestic electorate. By contrast, where the outcome of the rule-making process is predicted not to matter strongly to outcomes, elites will perceive the freedom to construct rules under the expectation that the states they represent will not be forced to pay out on the cost of any promises to be read from the domestic legislation. Resulting rules may then assume the function of costless signaling devices. I identify two ideal typical modes of elite behavior toward the use of institution as cheap talk: the broadcast of promises to commit greater levels of resources toward Convention compliance, and the broadcast of promises to curtail costs to be assumed toward Convention compliance. I develop exemplary-case country narratives explicating state action toward each of the six ideal typical compliance and implementation patterns observed within democratic destination states worldwide. I apply these answers to one of the primary questions of comparative politics – where and how do institutions matter?