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Economic Rights and the Policymaker's Decision Problem

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  • Lanse Minkler

Abstract

Economic rights can be instantiated in a variety of ways. This paper investigates the problem with making economic rights into policy from one source: the political policymaker. By modeling the policymaker's decision problem we can identify particular decision flaws and possible correctives that might prompt economic rights instantiation through "enlightened self-interest." A complementary approach involves constitutionalizing economic rights with directive principles and enforceable law, which could work somewhat independently of the policymaker's preferences and/or beliefs. The last part of the paper looks at a sample of actual constitutions to see if government effort toward economic rights fulfillment is related with constitutionalization. The evidence here suggests a positive relationship: those countries with better economic rights provisions in their constitutions demonstrate greater economic rights effort.

Suggested Citation

  • Lanse Minkler, 2007. "Economic Rights and the Policymaker's Decision Problem," Economic Rights Working Papers 5, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:ecriwp:5
    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.
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    Keywords

    Economic Rights; Constitutions; Human Rights; Political Policymaker;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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