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This article conducts a comparative analysis of peer and public pressure in peer reviews among states. We seek to understand the extent to which five different peer reviews exert peer and public pressure and how possible variation among them can be explained. Our findings are based on responses to an original survey and 85 semi-structured interviews among participants in the reviews. We find that peer and public pressure exist to different degrees in the peer reviews under study. Such differences cannot be explained by the policy area under review or the international organization in which peer reviews are organized. Likewise, the expertise of the actors involved in a peer review or perceptions of the legitimacy of peer review as a monitoring instrument do not explain variation. Instead, we find that institutional factors and the acceptance of peer and public pressure among the participants in a peer review offer the best explanations.