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The Economic Effects of Human Rights

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  • 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..

Suggested Citation

  • Lorenz Blume & Stefan Voigt, 2007. "The Economic Effects of Human Rights," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 509-538, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:60:y:2007:i:4:p:509-538
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dreher, Axel & Voigt, Stefan, 2011. "Does membership in international organizations increase governments' credibility? Testing the effects of delegating powers," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 326-348, September.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:got:cegedp:115 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    5. Chris Jeffords & Lanse Minkler, 2016. "Do Constitutions Matter? The Effects of Constitutional Environmental Rights Provisions on Environmental Outcomes," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 294-335, May.
    6. Jan Fałkowski & Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2015. "Przyczyny ustanawiania i stabilność konstytucji państwa - perspektywa ekonomiczna," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 3, pages 79-105.
    7. Yukihiro Yazaki, 2014. "Rights and judicial independence," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 179-201, May.
    8. Gregory M. Randolph, 2012. "The Often Neglected Role of Property Rights in the Advancement of Human Rights," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 27(Spring 20), pages 43-62.
    9. Axel Dreher & Martin Gassebner & Lars-H. R. Siemers, 2012. "Globalization, Economic Freedom, and Human Rights," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 56(3), pages 516-546, June.
    10. 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.
    11. Mwangi S. Kimenyi, 2005. "Economic Rights, Human Development Effort and Institutions," Working papers 2005-40, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    12. Mustafa, Ghulam & Rizov, Marian & Kernohan, David, 2017. "Growth, human development, and trade: The Asian experience," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 93-101.
    13. Lee, Jiwon & Wittgenstein, Teresa, 2017. "Weak vs. Strong Ties: Explaining Early Settlement in WTO Disputes," ILE Working Paper Series 7, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
    14. Christian Bjørnskov & Jacob Mchangama, 2013. "Do Social Rights Affect Social Outcomes?," Economics Working Papers 2013-18, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    15. Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2009. "Constitutions and economic reforms in transition: an empirical study," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 1-41, March.
    16. 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.
    17. Nikolaev, Boris & Bennett, Daniel L., 2016. "Give me liberty and give me control: Economic freedom, control perceptions and the paradox of choice," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(S), pages 39-52.
    18. Lee Yong-Shik, 2015. "Call for a New Analytical Model for Law and Development," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-67, June.
    19. Axel Dreher & Martin Gassebner & Lars-H. Siemers, 2010. "Does Terrorism Threaten Human Rights? Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 65-93, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

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