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Does Constitutionalizing Economic and Social Rights Promote their Fulfillment?

Elizabeth Kaletski, Lanse Minkler (), Nishith Prakash () and Susan Randolph ()

No 23, Economic Rights Working Papers from University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: Economic and social rights; Constitutional provisions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 B59 P46 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hme and nep-law
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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