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The Economic Effects of Human Rights

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  • Blume, Lorenz
  • Voigt, Stefan

Abstract

Economists are often skeptical concerning the economic effects of various forms of human rights: it has been argued that basic human rights can make the legal system less efficient but also that extensive social rights are incompatible with market economies. It is argued here that basic human rights are a precondition for other kinds of rights such as property and civil rights and that they are thus efficiency-enhancing. Four different groups of rights are identified. It is asked what effects they have on welfare and growth. The transmission channels through which the different rights affect welfare and growth are identified by estimating their effects on investment in both physical and human capital and overall productivity. Basic human rights have indeed a positive effect on investment, but do not seem to contribute to productivity. Social or emancipatory rights, in turn, are not conducive to investment in physical capital but do contribute to productivity improvements. None of the four groups of rights ever has a significant negative effect on any of the economic variables here included.

Suggested Citation

  • Blume, Lorenz & Voigt, Stefan, 2004. "The Economic Effects of Human Rights," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 66, University of Kassel, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:kasvdb:66
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dreher, Axel & Voigt, Stefan, 2011. "Does membership in international organizations increase governments' credibility? Testing the effects of delegating powers," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 326-348, September.
    2. repec:got:cegedp:115 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    4. repec:wly:amposc:v:63:y:2019:i:2:p:452-466 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jan Fałkowski & Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2015. "Przyczyny ustanawiania i stabilność konstytucji państwa - perspektywa ekonomiczna," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 3, pages 79-105.
    6. Eicher, Theo S. & García-Peñalosa, Cecilia & Kuenzel, David J., 2018. "Constitutional rules as determinants of social infrastructure," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 182-209.
    7. Gregory M. Randolph, 2012. "The Often Neglected Role of Property Rights in the Advancement of Human Rights," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 27(Spring 20), pages 43-62.
    8. Axel Dreher & Martin Gassebner & Lars-H. R. Siemers, 2012. "Globalization, Economic Freedom, and Human Rights," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 56(3), pages 516-546, June.
    9. repec:sos:sosjrn:180314 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Sonya K. Huffman & Marian Rizov, 2018. "Life satisfaction and diet in transition: evidence from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 49(5), pages 563-574, September.
    11. Chauffour, Jean-Pierre, 2011. "On the relevance of freedom and entitlement in development : new empirical evidence (1975-2007)," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5660, The World Bank.
    12. 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.
    13. Yukihiro Yazaki, 2014. "Rights and judicial independence," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 179-201, May.
    14. Blume, Lorenz & Voigt, Stefan, 2011. "Does organizational design of supreme audit institutions matter? A cross-country assessment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 215-229, June.
    15. Mwangi S. Kimenyi, 2005. "Economic Rights, Human Development Effort and Institutions," Working papers 2005-40, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    16. Mustafa, Ghulam & Rizov, Marian & Kernohan, David, 2017. "Growth, human development, and trade: The Asian experience," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 93-101.
    17. Lee, Jiwon & Wittgenstein, Teresa, 2017. "Weak vs. Strong Ties: Explaining Early Settlement in WTO Disputes," ILE Working Paper Series 7, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
    18. Christian Bjørnskov & Jacob Mchangama, 2019. "Do Social Rights Affect Social Outcomes?," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 63(2), pages 452-466, April.
    19. Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2009. "Constitutions and economic reforms in transition: an empirical study," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 1-41, March.
    20. repec:eco:journ1:2019-01-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Axel Dreher & Martin Gassebner & Lars-H. R. Siemers, 2010. "Globalization, Economic Freedom and Human Rights," CESifo Working Paper Series 3228, CESifo Group Munich.
    22. Nikolaev, Boris & Bennett, Daniel L., 2016. "Give me liberty and give me control: Economic freedom, control perceptions and the paradox of choice," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(S), pages 39-52.
    23. Lee Yong-Shik, 2015. "Call for a New Analytical Model for Law and Development," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-67, June.
    24. Axel Dreher & Martin Gassebner & Lars-H. Siemers, 2010. "Does Terrorism Threaten Human Rights? Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 65-93, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

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