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Social rights in the constitution and in practice

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  • Ben-Bassat, Avi
  • Dahan, Momi

Abstract

This paper presents a new data set on constitutional commitments to social rights (CCSR) for 68 countries. Quantitative indices are constructed for five social rights: the right to social security, education, health, housing and workers rights. We find two clear groups classified by legal origins: countries which share the tradition of French civil law generally have a higher CCSR than those that share the tradition of English common law. The CCSR in socialist countries is closer to French civil law, whereas countries with a German or Scandinavian tradition resemble the English common law countries more closely. Then the paper addresses the following question: is the constitution a binding constraint on public policy? We have not found a robust effect of CCSR on public policy except for the constitutional right to social security. Journal of Comparative Economics 36 (1) (2008) 103-119.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben-Bassat, Avi & Dahan, Momi, 2008. "Social rights in the constitution and in practice," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 103-119, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:36:y:2008:i:1:p:103-119
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    2. Momi Dahan & Michel Strawczynski, 2010. "Fiscal Rules and Composition Bias in OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 3088, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Randall Akee & Arnab K. Basu & Arjun Bedi & Nancy H. Chau, 2014. "Transnational Trafficking, Law Enforcement, and Victim Protection: A Middleman Trafficker's Perspective," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(2), pages 349-386.
    4. Libman, Alexander, 2009. "Constitutions, Regulations, and Taxes: Contradictions of Different Aspects of Decentralization," MPRA Paper 15854, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    6. Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2016. "Post-Socialist Constitutions: The De Jure - De Facto Gap, Its Effects and Determinants," Working Papers 2016-21, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    7. Hiroaki Matsuura, 2016. "Constitutional social and environmental human rights and child health outcomes in Latin American countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 168, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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