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The Economic Effects of Human Rights

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Author Info

  • Lorenz Blume
  • Stefan Voigt

Abstract

There are three positions concerning the economic effects of human rights discussed among economists. Some economists argue that only property rights matter for economic growth and basic human rights can even make the legal system less efficient. Others argue that negative rights are generally welfare increasing while positive rights tend to reduce income and growth over time. Yet a third group of economists argues that elements of all groups of human rights are a precondition for making productive use of one's resources and are thus efficiency-enhancing. Based on a cross-country analysis, the effects of different groups of human rights on economic growth are estimated in this paper. The transmission channels through which the different rights affect growth are identified by estimating their effects on investment and overall productivity. Basic human rights have indeed a positive effect on investment, but do not seem to contribute to productivity. Social rights, in turn, are not conducive to investment in physical capital but do contribute to productivity improvements. None of the four groups of rights covered in this analysis ever has a significant negative effect on any of the economic variables included. Copyright 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Kyklos.

Volume (Year): 60 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 509-538

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Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:60:y:2007:i:4:p:509-538

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Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0023-5962

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Cited by:
  1. Axel Dreher & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Does Membership in International Organizations Increase Governments’ Credibility? Testing the Effects of Delegating Powers," CESifo Working Paper Series 2285, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2009. "Constitutions and economic reforms in transition: an empirical study," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 1-41, March.
  3. Christian Bjørnskov & Jacob Mchangama, 2013. "Do Social Rights Affect Social Outcomes?," Economics Working Papers 2013-18, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  4. Dreher, Axel & Gassebner, Martin & Siemers, Lars-H. R., 2010. "Globalization, economic freedom and human rights," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 115, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  5. Blume, Lorenz & Voigt, Stefan, 2011. "Does organizational design of supreme audit institutions matter? A cross-country assessment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 215-229, June.
  6. Dreher, Axel & Gassebner, Martin & Siemers, Lars-H. R., 2010. "Globalization, economic freedom and human rights," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 115, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  7. Graafland, J.J. & Compen, B., 2012. "Economic Freedom and Life Satisfaction: A Cross Country Analysis," Discussion Paper 2012-038, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Stefan Voigt, 2009. "Positive Constitutional Economics II—A Survey of Recent Developments," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200936, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  9. Chauffour, Jean-Pierre, 2011. "On the relevance of freedom and entitlement in development : new empirical evidence (1975-2007)," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5660, The World Bank.

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