Discussion Papers

No.903 Does the Nobel Peace Prize Improve Women’s Rights? Prize and Praise in International Relations

by Kyosuke KIKUTA, Manaho HANAYAMA

October 2023


We examine the effects of the Nobel Peace Prize on women’s rights to shed light on the roles of the positive symbolic action, “prize and praise,” in international relations. Based on psychological theories, we argue that the Nobel Peace Prize increases people’s confidence in women’s rights activists by spotlighting prominent individuals. The change in people’s beliefs alters the strategic interaction between women’s rights groups and potential perpetrators. We substantiate these claims by applying natural experiments to individual-level surveys and event data. The analyses indicate that if the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to women’s rights activists, it increases people’s trust in women’s organizations. Moreover, the Nobel Peace Prize decreases violence against women and women’s rights protests. However, these changes are short-lived. These results imply that symbolic actions can entail real-world changes; however, the question of how to sustain these changes remains.

Keywords: Nobel Peace Prize, Women’s rights, Violence against women
JEL classification: D71, F50, J16, K38

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