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Human rights based approaches to developmen t: concepts, evidence, and policy

  • Gauri, Varun
  • Gloppen, Siri
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    This paper assesses the benefits, risks, and limitations of human rights based approaches to development, which can be catalogued on the basis of the institutional mechanisms they rely on: global compliance based on international and regional treaties; the policies and programming of donors and executive agencies; rights talk; and legal mobilization. The paper briefly reviews the politics of the first three kinds of human rights based approaches before examining constitutionally based legal mobilization for social and economic rights in greater detail. Litigation for social and economic rights is increasing in frequency and scope in several countries, and exhibits appealing attributes, such as inclusiveness and deliberative quality. Still, there are potential problems with this form of human rights based mobilization, including middle class capture, the potential counter-majoritarianism of courts, and difficulties in compliance. The conclusion summarizes what is known, and what remains to be studied, regarding human rights based approaches to development.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5938.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jan 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5938
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    1. Banerjee, Abhijit V. & Banerji, Rukmini & Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Khemani, Stuti, 2008. "Pitfalls of participatory programs : evidence from a randomized evaluation in education in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4584, The World Bank.
    2. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
    3. Eric Neumayer, 2004. "Do international human rights treaties improve respect for human rights?," Law and Economics 0411003, EconWPA, revised 06 Jun 2005.
    4. Hafner-Burton, Emilie M., 2008. "Sticks and Stones: Naming and Shaming the Human Rights Enforcement Problem," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(04), pages 689-716, October.
    5. Varun Gauri, 2011. "The cost of complying with human rights treaties: The convention on the rights of the child and basic immunization," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 33-56, March.
    6. Moravcsik, Andrew, 1997. "Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 513-553, September.
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