* The authors would like to thank Craig Webster for providing us with the Cingranelli and Richards dataset and an anonymous referee, Anne van Aaken, Eric Neumayer, Michael Ebeling, Janina Satzer, Nguyen Quog Viet and Jan Wagner for valuable ideas, comments and suggestions.
The Economic Effects of Human Rights
Version of Record online: 24 OCT 2007
Volume 60, Issue 4, pages 509–538, November 2007
How to Cite
Blume, L. and Voigt, S. (2007), The Economic Effects of Human Rights. Kyklos, 60: 509–538. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6435.2007.00383.x
Economics Department, University of Kassel, Nora-Platiel-Str. 4, D-34127 Kassel, Germany; Fon: +49-561-804 2861, Fax: -804 2818. E-mail: email@example.com.
- Issue online: 24 OCT 2007
- Version of Record online: 24 OCT 2007
There are three positions concerning the economic effects of human rights discussed among economists. Some economists argue that only property rights matter for economic growth and basic human rights can even make the legal system less efficient. Others argue that negative rights are generally welfare increasing while positive rights tend to reduce income and growth over time. Yet a third group of economists argues that elements of all groups of human rights are a precondition for making productive use of one's resources and are thus efficiency-enhancing. Based on a cross-country analysis, the effects of different groups of human rights on economic growth are estimated in this paper. The transmission channels through which the different rights affect growth are identified by estimating their effects on investment and overall productivity. Basic human rights have indeed a positive effect on investment, but do not seem to contribute to productivity. Social rights, in turn, are not conducive to investment in physical capital but do contribute to productivity improvements. None of the four groups of rights covered in this analysis ever has a significant negative effect on any of the economic variables included.