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Human Rights and Public Opinion: From Attitudes to Action

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Author Info

  • Shareen Hertel

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Lyle Scruggs

    (University of Connecticut)

  • C. Patrick Heidkamp

    (Southern Connecticut State University)

Abstract

This paper investigates American public opinion supporting human rights and willingness to engage in economic behavior consistent with such support. We look at three types of rights in particular: freedom of expression, freedom from torture, and the right to a guaranteed minimum standard of living. The current literature on human rights largely ignores public opinion, and vice versa. Based on our analysis of a 2006 national survey, we find that more Americans believe in a broader range of human rights (including economic rights) than has previously been assumed. We also find that most Americans report that they are willing to spend more on goods produced ethically and that those who are supportive of human rights may be more willing to pay for such goods. Our findings have implications for theories and practice of human rights, and for development of new markets for ethical consumption.

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File URL: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/working/3r.pdf
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File URL: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/working/3.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute in its series Economic Rights Working Papers with number 3.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision: Apr 2008
Handle: RePEc:uct:ecriwp:3

Note: The authors gratefully acknowledge the research support of Rachel Jackson and the assistance of staff of the University of Connecticut Center for Survey Research and Analysis as well as the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. We have also benefited from the comments on earlier drafts of this article from members of the University of Connecticut Economic Rights Reading Group/Human Rights Institute, and from Dawn Brancati and Davita Glasberg.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: University of Connecticut Thomas J. Dodd Research Center 405 Babbidge Road, Unit 1205 Storrs, CT 06269-1205
Phone: 860-486-8739
Fax: 860-486-6332
Web page: http://www.humanrights.uconn.edu/

Related research

Keywords: : human rights; public opinion; sweatshops; fair trade;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

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  1. Kimberly Ann Elliott & Richard Freeman, 2004. "White Hats or Don Quixotes? Human Rights Vigilantes in the Global Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0638, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Loureiro, Maria L. & Lotade, Justus, 2005. "Do fair trade and eco-labels in coffee wake up the consumer conscience?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 129-138, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Veronika Andorfer & Ulf Liebe, 2012. "Research on Fair Trade Consumption—A Review," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 106(4), pages 415-435, April.

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