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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 U.S. and its ally countries after 9/11.� When testing the importance of checks and balances, we find this increase is significantly smaller in countries with independent judicial review (counter-majoritarian 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 University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 425.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:425

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Keywords: Human rights; Terrorism; 9/11; Checks and balances; Constitutions; Constitutional courts;

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  1. 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, vol. 15(1), pages 222-79, April.
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  3. 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, vol. 112(2), pages 445-470, April.
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  8. 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, vol. 35(2), pages 399-440, 06.
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  10. Axel Dreher & Martin Gassebner & Lars-H. R. Siemers, 2007. "Does Terror Threaten Human Rights? Evidence from Panel Data," KOF Working papers 07-156, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
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Cited by:
  1. Friedrich Schneider & Tilman Brück & Daniel Meierrieks, 2010. "The Economics of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: A Survey (Part II)," CESifo Working Paper Series 3012, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. 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 58, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Thorvaldur Gylfason, 2012. "From Collapse to Constitution: The Case of Iceland," CESifo Working Paper Series 3770, CESifo Group Munich.

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