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Does Constitutionalizing Economic and Social Rights Promote their Fulfillment?

Listed author(s):
  • Elizabeth Kaletski

    (Ithaca College)

  • Lanse Minkler

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Nishith Prakash

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Susan Randolph

    (University of Connecticut)

This paper explores whether constitutional provisions promote fulfillment of economic and social rights. This is accomplished by combining unique data on both enforceable law and directive principles with the Social and Economic Rights Fulfillment Index (SERF Index), which measures government fulfillment of such rights. The results indicate that there is a positive and significant correlation between enforceable law provisions and the right to health and education components of the SERF Index. The strongest relationship appears to be for the right to health component where the inclusion of an enforceable law provision on economic and social rights in the constitution is correlated with an increase in the health component by 9.55, or 13.0%, on average. These results support the idea that constitutional provisions may be one way to improve economic and social rights outcomes.

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File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/23.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute in its series Economic Rights Working Papers with number 23.

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Date of creation: Jun 2014
Handle: RePEc:uct:ecriwp:23
Note: Paper presented at the conference America, Human Rights and the World, Marquette University September 27-29, 2007. The idea for this paper was prompted by a one-day workshop held by the Economic Rights Group at the University of Connecticut entitled Instantiating Economic Rights. I thank ERG members for comments on this version, especially Shareen Hertel, Susan Randolph and Lyle Scruggs. I also thank David Forsythe, Richard Goldstone, Wiktor Osiatynski, and Richard Ashby Wilson for their comments.
Contact details of provider: Postal:
University of Connecticut Thomas J. Dodd Research Center 405 Babbidge Road, Unit 1205 Storrs, CT 06269-1205

Phone: 860-486-8739
Fax: 860-486-6332
Web page: http://www.humanrights.uconn.edu/

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Mwangi S. Kimenyi, 2005. "Economic Rights, Human Development Effort and Institutions," Working papers 2005-40, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  2. Susan Randolph & Sakiko Fukuda-Parr & Terra Lawson-Remer, 2009. "Economic and Social Rights Fulfillment Index: Country Scores and Rankings," Working papers 2009-27, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  3. Minkler, Lanse & Prakash, Nishith, 2015. "The Role of Constitutions on Poverty: A Cross-National Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 8877, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. 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, 05.
  5. David L. Richards & K. Chad Clay, 2010. "Measuring Government Effort to Respect Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights," Economic Rights Working Papers 13, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.
  6. Steven C. Poe & Nicolas Rost & Sabine C. Carey, 2006. "Assessing Risk and Opportunity in Conflict Studies," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 50(4), pages 484-507, August.
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