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Human Rights Violations after 9/11 and the Role of Constitutional Constraints

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  • Benedikt Goderis
  • Mila Versteeg

Abstract

After 9/11, the United States and its allies took measures to protect their citizens from future terrorist attacks. While these measures aim to increase security, they have often been criticized for violating human rights. But violating rights is difficult in a constitutional democracy with separated powers and checks and balances. This paper empirically investigates the effect of the post-9/11 terror threat on human rights. We find strong evidence of a systematic increase in rights violations in the U.S. and its ally countries after 9/11. When testing the importance of checks and balances, we find this increase is significantly smaller in countries with independent judicial review (counter-majoritarian checks), but did not depend on the presence of veto players in the legislative branch (majoritarian checks). These findings have important implications for constitutional debates on rights protection in times of emergency.

Suggested Citation

  • Benedikt Goderis & Mila Versteeg, 2009. "Human Rights Violations after 9/11 and the Role of Constitutional Constraints," Economics Series Working Papers 425, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:425
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper425.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Friedrich Schneider & Tilman Brück & Daniel Meierrieks, 2010. "The Economics of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: A Survey (Part I)," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1049, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Thorvaldur Gylfason, 2012. "From Collapse to Constitution: The Case of Iceland," CESifo Working Paper Series 3770, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Adam S. Chilton & Mila Versteeg, 2015. "The Failure of Constitutional Torture Prohibitions," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 417-452.
    4. Michael Brzoska & Raphael Bossong & Eric van Um, 2011. "Security Economics in the European Context: Implications of the EUSECON Project," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 58, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    5. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "Repression or Civil War?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 292-297, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human rights; Terrorism; 9/11; Checks and balances; Constitutions; Constitutional courts;

    JEL classification:

    • K19 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Other
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F52 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - National Security; Economic Nationalism

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