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Human Rights Violations After 9/11 and the Role of Constitutional Constraints

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  • Benedikt Goderis
  • Mila Versteeg

Abstract

After 9/11, the United States and its allies took measures to protect their citizens from future terrorist attacks. While these measures aim to increase security, they have often been criticized for violating human rights. But violating rights is difficult in a constitutional democracy with separated powers and checks and balances. This paper empirically investigates the effect of the post-9/11 terror threat on human rights. We find strong evidence of a systematic increase in rights violations in the United States and its ally countries after 9/11. When testing the importance of checks and balances, we find that this increase is significantly smaller in countries with independent judicial review (countermajoritarian checks) but did not depend on the presence of veto players in the legislative branch (majoritarian checks). These findings have important implications for constitutional debates on rights protection in times of emergency.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Economics of Security Working Paper Series with number 11.

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Length: 45 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diweos:diweos11

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Keywords: human rights; terrorism; 9/11; checks and balances; constitutions; constitutional courts;

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  1. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Working Paper 19443, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  2. Daniel Berkowitz & Karen Clay, 2006. "The Effect of Judicial Independence on Courts: Evidence from the American States," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 399-440, 06.
  3. Robert J. Barro & Rachel M. Mccleary, 2005. "Which Countries Have State Religions?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1331-1370, November.
  4. Beck, T.H.L. & Clarke, G. & Groff, A. & Keefer , P. & Walsh, P., 2001. "New tools in comparative political economy: The database of political institutions," Open Access publications from Tilburg University, Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125517, Tilburg University.
  5. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Judicial Checks and Balances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 445-470, April.
  6. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-79, April.
  7. Axel Dreher & Martin Gassebner & Lars-H. R. Siemers, 2007. "Does Terror Threaten Human Rights? Evidence from Panel Data," KOF Working papers, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich 07-156, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  8. Maddala, G S & Wu, Shaowen, 1999. " A Comparative Study of Unit Root Tests with Panel Data and a New Simple Test," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 631-52, Special I.
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  12. Witold J. Henisz, 2002. "The institutional environment for infrastructure investment," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 355-389.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael Brzoska & Raphael Bossong & Eric van Um, 2011. "Security Economics in the European Context: Implications of the EUSECON Project," Economics of Security Working Paper Series, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research 58, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Thorvaldur Gylfason, 2012. "From Collapse to Constitution: The Case of Iceland," CESifo Working Paper Series, CESifo Group Munich 3770, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Friedrich Schneider & Tilman Brück & Daniel Meierrieks, 2010. "The Economics of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: A Survey (Part II)," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research 1050, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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