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Human Rights: The Effect of Neighbouring Countries

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Abstract

We examine the geo-political and international spatial aspects of human rights (HR), using a purpose designed data-set. Applying tools from the spatial economics literature, we analyse the impact on a country’s HR performance of geographical proximity to its neighbours. Unlike previous studies, our approach treats this as partly endogenous: one country’s HR performance will affect its neighbours through a variety of potential geographical spillover mechanisms. We start with simple descriptive accounts, using scatter plots, of the geographic history of HR performance. Using a relatively simple spatial weighting model approach we compare each country’s HR performance with what would be predicted by regression on a weighted average of its neighbours’ performance (i.e. weightings depending positively on country population , and negatively upon distance), using a cross sectional and panel dataset of one hundred and sixty countries. We regress measures of population size, distance between countries, the prevalence of war or ethnic conflict, as well as per capita incomes and distribution, to test the general hypothesis that there may be positive spillovers between neighbours’ human rights performance. This is then extended to derive measures of HR performance relative to both economic, social and spatial factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Todd Landman & T. Huw Edwards & Tulio Antonio-Cravo & David Kernohan, 2011. "Human Rights: The Effect of Neighbouring Countries," Discussion Paper Series 2011_01, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised Sep 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:lbo:lbowps:2011_01
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    File URL: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/sbe/RePEc/lbo/lbowps/Human_Rights_for_RepecWP11-1.pdf
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    Keywords

    Human rights; spatial econometrics;

    JEL classification:

    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines

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