ROLC Core Faculty Dr. Christopher B. Yenkey Discusses Research on Human Rights Violations and International Financial Ties in Virtual Brownbag

On March 9, 2021, the Rule of Law Collaborative (ROLC) hosted Associate Professor of International Business Dr. Christopher B. Yenkey at a virtual brownbag discussion with ROLC faculty, staff, and students. Dr. Yenkey discussed his current research analyzing the relationship between human rights violations and international economic and financial ties. Applying quantitative analysis to political violence data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project combined with data on global financial transfers provided by the SWIFT Institute, for countries across Africa, Dr. Yenkey’s draft paper, “Concentrated Foreign Relations and State-Led Human Rights Violations,” seeks to answer three questions:

1. Do homogeneous foreign relations predict human rights violations?

2. Do human rights violations further homogenize foreign relations?

3. Which foreign relationships are durable to human rights violations?

In examining these relationships at the country level, Dr. Yenkey draws an analogy to the dynamics of domestic violence. “The two classic dynamics of domestic violence are that the abuser seeks to normalize their abusive behavior, as well as isolate their victims in order to prevent external scrutiny or repercussions,” he says. “My current research takes that concept and scales it up to the macro-level, in order to see if isolated economic relationships are similarly related to human rights violations, and if so, how it might be reversed.”

Dr. Yenkey’s preliminary findings suggest that bilateral relations based in natural resource trade and colonial relationships are the least affected by human rights violations. As he moves forward with this work, he plans to apply his analysis to understanding the start of periods of peace, as opposed to persistent violence, in order to identity ways to break cycles of human rights violations.

Those interested may contact Dr. Yenkey at