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

Christopher Jeffords () and Farhed Shah

No 17, Economic Rights Working Papers from University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute

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.

Keywords: Nonrenewable resource; water; minimum consumption requirement; human right to water; government policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D19 D69 D63 Q38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 41 pages
Date: 2011-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr
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