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On the Natural and Economic Difficulties to Fulfilling the Human Right to Water

Author

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  • Christopher Jeffords

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Farhed Shah

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

We present, to the best of our knowledge, the first economic model of the human right to water using a nonrenewable resource model inclusive of a backstop technology. The right is interpreted as a minimum consumption requirement the government is obligated to fulfill in the event that any one household cannot do so independently. Differing by income levels, households maximize utility by purchasing a composite consumption good and water from two distinct, government-owned sources. Facing physical and financial constraints, the government uses fiscal policy to address potential human rights violations. Reducing the analysis to two-periods, we develop a novel approach to compare total welfare levels from a joint human rights and economics perspective. We define a human rights welfare standard and discuss cases where traditional social welfare measures would meet, surpass, or violate this standard. We thus offer a unique way to merge economic analysis with human rights research.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Jeffords & Farhed Shah, 2011. "On the Natural and Economic Difficulties to Fulfilling the Human Right to Water," Economic Rights Working Papers 17, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:ecriwp:17
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    File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/17.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Guillaume Gruere & Debdatta Sengupta, 2011. "Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India: An Evidence-based Assessment," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 316-337.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Jeffords, 2012. "Constitutional Environmental Human Rights in India: Negating a Negating Statement," Economic Rights Working Papers 21, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Nonrenewable resource; water; minimum consumption requirement; human right to water; government policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)

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