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The Political Economy of the Human Right to Water


  • Manuel Couret Branco

    () (Universidade de Evora, Evora, PORTUGAL

  • Pedro Damiao Henriques

    (Universidade de Evora, Evora, PORTUGAL


This paper concerns the role played by mainstream economics in the unequal assertion of people's right to clean water. First of all there is a conflict between satisfying wants and asserting rights. Second there is also a contradiction between aiming at maximizing social utility and ensuring rights. Finally, the market being considered the default regulation institution, the human right to water is hindered because markets are both inefficient in reaching universal coverage and unaccountable.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Couret Branco & Pedro Damiao Henriques, 2010. "The Political Economy of the Human Right to Water," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 142-155, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:42:y:2010:i:2:p:142-155

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    Cited by:

    1. Sturla, Gino & Illanes, Camila, 2014. "La Política de Aguas en Chile y la Gran Minería del Cobre
      [Water Policy in Chile and the Great Copper Mining]
      ," MPRA Paper 76089, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Manuel Couret Branco & Pedro Damião Henriques, 2009. "Human Rights as a Tool for Sustainable Development," CEFAGE-UE Working Papers 2009_11, University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal).

    More about this item


    human rights; right to water; economic theory; markets; democracy;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General


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