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Constitutional Environmental Human Rights: A Descriptive Analysis of 142 National Constitutions

Author

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  • Christopher Jeffords

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

This paper provides a detailed keyword analysis of the 142 out of 198 national constitutions that include at least one reference to the environment as of 2010. Out of these 142 constitutions, 125 contain provisions that are explicitly related to environmental human rights, and ten include a direct human right to water. Focusing mostly on the language of the provisions and the age of the constitutions (not the age of the provision itself), the analysis provides insight into the extent to which countries are taking environmental human rights seriously. The findings note that constitutions that reference the environment are, on average, generally younger in age than those that do not. This is also the case for developing versus developed countries, and Non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) versus OECD member countries. Constitutions that have a direct human right to water are, on average, even younger. The paper also develops a simple index of the legal strength of constitutional environmental human rights provisions and offers the data as an alternative, positive (versus subjective) specification to a similar set of data compiled by the Toronto Initiative for Economic and Social Rights (TIESR).

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Jeffords, 2011. "Constitutional Environmental Human Rights: A Descriptive Analysis of 142 National Constitutions," Economic Rights Working Papers 16, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:ecriwp:16
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    File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/16.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barrett, Christopher B., 1996. "Fairness, stewardship and sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 11-17, October.
    2. Padilla, Emilio, 2002. "Intergenerational equity and sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 69-83, April.
    3. Aaron Lercher, 2007. "Are There Any Environmental Rights?," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 16(3), pages 355-368, August.
    4. Richard B. Howarth, 1997. "Sustainability as Opportunity," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 569-579.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joshua C. Gellers & Christopher Jeffords, 2015. "Procedural Environmental Rights and Environmental Justice: Assessing the Impact of Environmental Constitutionalism," Economic Rights Working Papers 25, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.
    2. 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.
    3. Christopher Jeffords, 2015. "A Panel Data Analysis of the Effects of Constitutional Environmental Rights Provisions on Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities and Water Sources," Economic Rights Working Papers 24, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.
    4. Susan Randolph & Patrick Guyer, 2011. "Tracking the Historical Evolution of States' Compliance with their Economics and Social Rights Obligations of Result: Insights from the Historical SERF Index," Economic Rights Working Papers 18, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Constitutions; Environmental Human Rights; Human Right to Water;

    JEL classification:

    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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