Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement, and Policy Issues


October 27-29, 2005 • Storrs, CT

Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement, and Policy Issues October 27-29, 2005

Scholars and policymakers are increasingly attempting to link socio-economic and classic civil and political rights in unprecedented and innovative ways. The University of Connecticut will host a conference on “Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement, and Policy Issues” (October 27-29, 2005) to move this new research and debate forward.

Having been marginalized in the West during the decades of the Cold War, economic rights are now emerging as one of the most exciting areas of human rights. Though economic rights lack the historical depth of theoretical and policy discussions in more established areas of core rights, influential thinkers are increasingly attempting to link socio-economic and classic civil and political rights in unprecedented and innovative ways. However, since this intellectual work is still pioneering in nature, economic rights remain less well articulated conceptually than civil and political rights, less accurately measured, and less consistently implemented in public policy.

The existing academic work in this area ranges across disciplines — from economics and philosophy to law and political science — with few shared concepts or common measures and, at best, a series of scattered “lessons learned” on policy application. In an era of significantly increased global economic interdependence and instability, however, issues of economic deprivation and inequality have become increasingly socially and politically salient – not only for their intrinsic moral force but also because these conditions are the harbingers of social unrest and political violence.

Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, in celebration of the Dodd Center’s 10th Anniversary Celebration.

Conference Information

Concept Paper

Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement and Policy Issues
A Conference at the University of Connecticut
Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
October 27-29, 2005

This conference, co-sponsored by the University of Connecticut Human Rights Institute and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, will serve as an intellectual focal point for the Dodd Center’s Tenth Anniversary celebrations, which have as their central theme “Globalization and Human Rights.” We will solicit, by direct invitation and through a call for papers, contributions from well-known scholars as well as new creative researchers from a variety of disciplines. A conference on economic rights, culminating in the publication of an edited volume released by a scholarly press in 2006, will thus make a significant and timely contribution to the field of human rights along with key social science disciplines.


Concepts: There is considerable debate over the content of economic rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a principal normative reference in this area, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights both enumerate a wide range of rights but do not define them per se, nor group them into distinct subcategories. Hence there is considerable debate over the basic nature of economic rights and their relationship to other rights. Important unresolved questions remain about the philosophical nature of economic rights, especially within the familiar debates around: a) positive versus negative rights; b) the interdependence and indivisibility of human rights; and c) the relationship of economic rights to other state interests, especially trade and national security. Similarly, there is debate over how relationships of obligations and claims are structured in the area of economic rights. While some would argue that civil and political rights generate relatively clear relationships (i.e., the state as the party obliged, the individual as the claimant), others argue that economic rights involve non-state actors as obligatory parties (such as corporations) and groups as claimants rather than solely individuals. More generally, recent breakthroughs have demonstrated important links between human rights and economic development. For instance, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has shown how the link between human well being –when properly conceived – and income and economic growth is not as simple as once believed. States that safeguard human rights can sometimes achieve higher levels of human well being than those single mindedly pursuing economic growth or those with higher incomes. Sen also illustrates how government programs like unemployment insurance and temporary job creation can help prevent famines. It would be natural to conceive of these policies as state obligations, based on citizens’ economic rights. These kinds of insights have fundamentally altered the way that scholars and international institutions think about both economic development and human rights.


Measurement: Existing human rights databases focus principally on violations of rights, yet most of those violations are civil and political in nature. The monitoring measures we have available today tend to track incidences of state abuse of rights. With very few exceptions, these databases rank countries in terms of performance on negative rights, or freedoms “from” abuse. Existing standards-based scales as well as events-based measures include the Freedom House Index or the Political Terror Scale – both of which offer upwards of three decades worth of data on civil and political rights in scores of countries. There is little to no standardized data available on economic rights issues. In part, this is a function of the type of documenting done by states-parties to treaties and by NGOs. In part, it is a function of the
general tendency to map violations by states (rather than non-state actors) and to focus on violation rather than promotion of rights. As Victor Dankwa, Cees Flinterman, and Scott Leckie have argued, it is “necessary to develop new approaches in data collection, analysis, and interpretation, focusing on the status of the poor and disadvantaged groups but also disaggregating the data for a number of variables, including gender.”8 Economic rights thus add complexity to the task of measuring not only violations, but also the “progressive realization” of rights over time.


Policy: What conception of economic rights is politically viable – in the short-run, the long-run, and across cultures? How are economic rights implemented in practice? What are the obstacles to implementation? In a final section of our conference, scholars and practitioners who work on the applied legal, institutional and programmatic aspects of economic rights will be invited to share lessons learned in their own work and research. For example, Wiktor Osiatynsky, the first Distinguish Visiting Gladstein Professor of Human Rights, has drafted related aspects of the Polish Constitution. He has advised law makers and policy advocates throughout the developing world and in countries-in-transition on the practical aspects of codifying economic rights. Other participants will add a vital “on-the-ground” perspective to the conference.


Rationale: The University of Connecticut is already well-positioned to host such an event and can take advantage of the comparable lack of attention to this issue area to catalyze scholarship. In so doing, we will further solidify our reputation for innovative cross-disciplinary scholarship in human rights. Our Human Rights Institute strategically identified economic rights as the focus of its first joint-faculty hire (made with the Department of Political Science in Spring 2004). This faculty member and a senior member of the Economics faculty coordinate an “Economic Rights Research Reading Group,” which involves a committed group of senior scholars from a range of departments in bi-weekly scholarly exchanges.

The University also has a proven record of drawing top scholars and policymakers to participate in conferences and symposia. For example, our Human Rights Institute hosted a Fall 2005 conference on terrorism and human rights involving the foremost intellectual and policy experts on this topic internationally, and will release a related edited volume through Cambridge University Press later this year. We have the convening power to draw a similarly high profile group to campus to discuss economic rights issues, and are committed to securing a top academic publisher to produce an edited volume following the conference.


Conference Agenda

Thursday, October 27

4:00-5:00pm Introduction and Keynote lecture | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Introduction: Richard Wilson, Provost Peter Nicholls
  • Keynote lecture: Kaushik Basu (Cornell University) | 'Human Rights as Instruments of Emancipation and Economic Development'

5:00-6:00pm Reception | Dodd Center lobby

6:00-7:30pm Dinner | North Reading Room- Wilbur Cross


Friday, October 28

7:45-8:45am Continental Breakfast & Registration | Dodd Center lobby

8:45-9:00am Opening Remarks | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Shareen Hertel, Lanse Minkler

9:00-10:00am Panel One | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Eleni Coundouriotis
  • David Forsythe | 'International Welfare Rights: The US Record at Home and Abroad'
  • Audrey Chapman | 'The Status of Efforts to Monitor Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights'

Discussion (20 minutes)

10:00-10:20am Coffee break

10:20-11:50am Panel Two | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Leslye Obiora
  • Mark Gibney & Sigrun Skogly | 'Transnational State Obligations and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights'
  • Shawna Sweeney | 'Respect for Women’s Economic Rights: A Cross National Analysis, 1981-2004'
  • Clarence Dias | 'Progressive Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Through Human Rights-Based Development'

Discussion (30 minutes)

11:50am-12:30pm Introductions | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
(facilitated by Shareen Hertel and Lanse Minkler)

12:30-2:00pm Lunch | Wilbur Cross North

2:00pm Welcome and Remarks | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Philip Austin, President, University of Connecticut

2:10-3:40pm Panel Three | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Lyle Scruggs
  • Philip Harvey | 'Quantitative, Qualitative and Equal Opportunity Aspects of the Right to Work'
  • David Cingranelli and David Richards | 'Measuring Government Respect for Economic Human Rights'
  • Claire Apodaca | 'Measuring the Progressive Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights'

Discussion (30 minutes)

3:40-3:50pm Coffee break

3:50-5:20pm Panel Four | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Celina Romany
  • Peter Dorman | 'Worker Rights and Economic Policy'
  • Samson Kimenyi | 'Economic Rights, Human Development Effort and Institutions'
  • Rhoda Howard-Hassmann and Susan Dicklitch | 'Achieving Economic Rights in Africa: Ghana and Uganda'

Discussion (30 minutes)

5:30-6:30pm Reception | William Benton Museum

6:30-9:00pm Dinner and Jazz | North Reading Room


Saturday, October 29

8:00-9:00am Continental breakfast & registration | Dodd Center lobby

9:00-10:00am Panel 5 | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Michael Freeman
  • Sakiko Fukuda-Parr | 'Rich countries obligations for development: Goal 8 of the Millennium Development Goals the lens of human rights'
  • Jack Donnelly | 'Liberalism and Economic Rights'

Discussion (20 minutes)

10:00-10:20am Coffee break

10:20-11:50am Panel 6 | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Richard Hiskes
  • Michael Goodhart | 'A Democratic Defense of Economic Rights and Basic Income'
  • Albino Barrera | 'Economic Rights in the Knowledge Economy: An Instrumental Justification'
  • Wiktor Osiatynski | 'Needs-based Approach to Social and Economic rights'

Discussion (30 minutes)

11:50am-12:10pm Closing Remarks | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Richard Wilson

(Box lunches available upon departure)

Confirmed Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Kaushik Basu


Albino Barrera
Jack Donnelly
Peter Dorman
Mark Gibney
Michael Goodhart
Philip Harvey
Sigrun Skogly



Clair Apodaca
Audrey Chapman
David Cingranelli
Samson Kimenyi
David Richards
Shawna Sweeney



Albino Barrera
Susan Dicklitch
Clarence Dias
David Forsythe
Rhoda Howard-Hassmann
Wiktor Osiatynski
Sakiko Fukuda-Parr

Speaker Biographies


Shareen Hertel is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut, and holds a joint appointment with the University of Connecticut Human Rights Institute. She specializes in comparative politics, human rights and international development. Dr. Hertel has also served as a consultant to foundations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies in the United States, Latin America and South Asia. She has written professionally on the United Nations’ role in economic and social development and helped develop a standard for labor rights monitoring in global manufacturing (SA8000).


Lanse Minkler is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut, and Director of Socio-Economic Rights at the University of Connecticut Human Rights Institute. Much of his research has concerned worker knowledge contributions and worker motivations. Most recently, he has been interested in the intersection between ethics and economics — resulting int he book manuscript Integrity and Agreement: Economics as if Principles Mattered. His current research interests center on economic rights, most particularly on the right to work. He has served on the Editorial Board for the Review of Social Economy, and recently finished a term as Associate Editor for that journal.


Richard A. Wilson is Gladstein Chair of Human Rights and Director of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut. He is the author or editor of numerous works, including books on political violence and social movements in Guatemala; human rights and culture; and memory, truth and justice — among them, The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: legitimizing the post-apartheid state (2001, Cambridge University Press). Most recently, Dr. Wilson edited Human Rights in the ‘War on Terror’ (Cambridge University Press, 2005). He has served as a technical advisor on human rights reports for the United Nations, and is a member of the editorial boards of Critique of Anthropology, Social Justice and the Journal of Human Rights.



Clair Apodaca is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Florida International University, and has served on the Executive Committee on Human Rights of the American Political Science Association as Section Secretary. Her areas of research include United States foreign policy, the international protection of human rights, and women’s human rights. Her work has appeared in International Studies Quarterly, Human Rights Quarterly, Journal of Refugee Studies and Asian Survey.


Albino Barrera is Professor of Humanities at Providence College, where he teaches economics and theology. He has published in the Journal of Development Economics, History of Political Economy, Review of Social Economy, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Religious Ethics, Downside Review, Journal of Peace and Justice Studies, Labor Law Journal and Forum for Social Economics. His recent books are Modern Catholic Social Documents and Political Economy(Georgetown University Press, 2001), Economic Compulsion and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and God and the Evil of Scarcity: Moral Foundations of Economic Agency(University of Notre Dame Press, 2005).


Kaushik Basu is Professor of Economics and the C. Marks Professor of International Studies at the Department of Economics, Cornell University, and the Director of the Program on Comparative Economic Development at Cornell. He has held visiting positions at Princeton University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as the London School of Economics, among others. Dr. Basu is Editor of Social Choice and Welfare, and has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Development Economics, World Bank Economic Review and other journals. A Fellow of the Econometric Society and a recipient of the Mahalanobis Memorial Award for contributions to economics, Kaushik Basu has published widely in the areas of development economics, industrial organization, game theory and welfare economics. He is also a contributor of popular articles to magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Scientific American, India Today and Business Standard.


Audry R. Chapman is Director of the Science and Human Rights Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Co-Director of a new AAAS initiative on Science and Intellectual Property in the Public Interest, and Senior Associate for Ethics for the AAAS. A specialist on economic, social and cultural rights, she has served on several UN expert committees to develop indicators for monitoring human rights, and as a consultant to international foundations, governments, and religious and nongovernmental institutions. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of sixteen books and numerous articles and monographs related to human rights, health, and genetics, including Core Obligations: Developing a Framework for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Intersentia, 2002). Dr. Chapman has served on the faculty of Barnard College, the University of Ghana, and the University of Nairobi, among other institutions.


David Cingranelli is Professor of Political Science at Binghamton University of the State University of New York. He studies the human rights practices of governments from a scientific, cross-national comparative perspective – as reflected in his work on the Cingranelli and Richards (CIRI)Human Rights Project ( The project, which has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the World Bank, offers easily accessible, high quality, annual information on government respect for a broad array of human rights in every country in the world. Covering 24 years (i.e., 1981-present), 13 separate human rights practices, and 193countries, the CIRI Human Rights Project is the largest human rights data set in the world. Dr. Cingranelli is also co-authoring a book on the human rights consequences of structural adjustment programs.


Clarence J. Dias is President of the International Center for Law in Development, and has taught law at Boston College and the University of Bombay. He has also practiced law before the High Court of Bombay and has considerable public interest experience. Dr. Dias assisted the drafting group that produced the 1986 UN Declaration on the Right to Development and has served as consultant to various UN agencies and bilateral development agencies, as well as the OECD. He was the primary author of UN Development Programme’s policy on Integrating Human Rights with Sustainable Human Development (adopted in 1997) and has published numerous other scholarly and policy works, including The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Fifty Years and Beyond(United Nations, 1999).


Susan Dicklitch is an Associate Professor of Government at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. and is author of The Elusive Promise of NGOs in Africa: Lessons from Uganda(Palgrave, 1998) as well as articles published in Human Rights Quarterly, Development in Practice, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, International Politics, and the Christian Science Monitor. She has served as an expert witness on Cameroon and Uganda in several political asylum cases in U.S. Immigration Court.


Jack Donnely is Andrew Mellon Professor of International Studies at the University of Denver, and has held academic posts at universities throughout the United States and in Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Israel. Widely published, his books include Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice(Cornell, 2003, 2nd edition) and International Human Rights (Westview, 1998, 2nd edition) along with numerous book chapters as well as articles in journals ranging from the American Political Science Review to the Journal of Human Rights, Human Rights Quarterly, International Affairs, and Ethics and International Affairs. He is on the editorial board of major publications in the human rights field, and is an internationally active lecturer.


Peter Dorman is on the faculty of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where he teaches political economy. He has researched and written on labor standards in national and international contexts for more than twenty years, and is author of Markets and Mortality: Economics, Dangerous Work and the Value of Human Life (Cambridge University Press, 1996) and many articles and reports on working conditions, child labor, international trade and other topics. He has also served as a consultant to the US Department of Labor and the International Labor Organization.


Sakiko Fukuda-Parris currently a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and is writing a book on agricultural biotechnology and development with support of a Rockefeller Foundation grant. From 1995-2004, she was the Director and lead author of UN Development Programme’s Human Development Reports. She has also had a diverse career within UNDP and The World Bank, holding positions with both management and technical responsibilities and working in dozens of countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Human Development: Alternative Economics in Action.


David P. Forsythe is University Professor and Charles J. Mach Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has taught and carried out research on human rights and humanitarian affairs for almost four decades, and was awarded the Quincy Wright Award for distinguished career achievements in international education in 2003. His most recent book is The Humanitarians: The International Committee of the Red Cross (Cambridge University Press, 2005),and forthcoming work includes his “Bush Foreign Policy toward Enemy Detainees,” in Forsythe,, eds., American Foreign Policy in a Globalized World (Routledge, 2006).


Mark Gibney is the Belk Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. His published work includes articles in Human Rights Quarterly, Harvard Human Rights Journal, Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Peace Review, International Studies Journal, and the Boston University Journal of International Law, among others. In addition to his most recent sole-authored book, Five Uneasy Pieces: American Ethics in a Globalized World (Rowman & Littlefield,2005), Dr. Gibney has also edited several volumes including World Justice?: U.S. Courts and International Human Rights (Westview, 991) and Judicial Protection of Human Rights: Myth or Reality? (Praeger,1999) as well as the forthcoming volume, The Age of Apology: The West Faces Its Own Past.


Michael Goodhart is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also holds a secondary appointment in Women’s Studies. His research focuses on democratic theory and human rights, especially in the context of globalization. His has published in journals such as Democratization, Human Rights Quarterly, and Polity, and his forthcoming book, Democracy as Human Rights: Freedom and Equality in the Age of Globalization will be published by Routledge in August 2005. He is President of the American Political Science Association’s organized section on Human Rights (2004-05) and Review Editor for Polity, the Journal of the Northeastern Political Science Association.


Philip Harvey is Associate Professor of Law and Economics at Rutgers School of Law-Camden. He is the author of Securing the Right to Employment (Princeton University Press, 1989) and co-author, with Theodore Marmor and Jerry Mashaw, of America’s Misunderstood Welfare State (Basic Books, 1990). He is widely published in scholarly journals – including the Buffalo Law Review, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, and Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor, among others.


Rhoda Howard-Hassmann is Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Among her numerous books are Colonialism and Underdevelopment in Ghana (Croom Helm, 1978), Human Rights in Commonwealth Africa (Rowman & Littlefield, 1986), and Human Rights and the Search for Community (Westview, 1995). She is also co-editor of Economic Rights in Canada and the United States (forthcoming 2006), and a two-volume work in progress, The Age of Apology: the West Confronts its Past. Dr. Howard-Hassmann’s Compassionate Canadians: Civic Leaders Discuss Human Rights (2003) was named 2004 Outstanding Book by the Human Rights Section of the American Political Science Association.


Mwangi S. Kimenyi is an Associate professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut and has published widely in areas of poverty and income distribution, public finance and public choice and economic development. He is also author/editor of seven books, and the founding Executive Director (1999-2004) of the Kenya Institute for Public Policy (KIPPRA) which was recognized the premier policy institute in Africa by 2004. Kimenyi is recipient of many awards and honors including the Georgescu-Roegen Prize in Economics (1991), Outstanding Research Award, Global Development Network (GDN) of the World Bank (2001) and has been nominated for Who is Who Amongst American Teachers, (2004). His current research focuses on governance and institutional reforms in developing countries.


Wiktor Osiatynski is a University professor at the Central European University in Budapest and has taught at the Stanford University, Columbia University, The University of Chicago Law School, and other universities in the United States and Europe. His main field of interest has been comparative constitutionalism and human rights, and he has published over 20 books. Dr. Osiatynbski has co-directed a center for the Study of Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe at the University of Chicago Law School and also served as an advisor to the Constitutional Committee in his native Poland; he was responsible for proposing the constitutional formulation of social and economic rights. At present, Dr. Osiatynski is advising in the process of creation of a new constitution in Kyrgystan.


David L. Richards is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Memphis and Co-Director of the CIRI Human Rights Data Project ( His human rights research in the areas of democratic processes, globalization and political economy, and measurement has received funding from such agencies as the National Science Foundation and has been published in a number of journals and edited volumes.


Sigrun Skogly is Reader in Human Rights Law at Lancaster University. She has published extensively on issues related to international human rights obligations, and in particular on economic, social and cultural rights. Her publications include The Human Rights Obligations of the World Bank and the IMF (Cavendish Publishing, 2001) and articles in Human Rights Law Review and Human Rights Quarterly. Her book Beyond National Borders: States’ Human Rights Obligationsin their International Cooperation, will be published by Intersentia (Antwerp, 2005). In addition to her academic career, Dr. Skogly has been actively involved with a number of human rights organizations, and was President of Food First Information & Action Network (FIAN) International from 1993 to 1998.


Shawna Sweeny is a Visiting Assistant Professor and Senior Research Associate at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Policy Analysis, and is completing her doctoral dissertation at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she served as a Research Assistant for the Cingranelli and Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Data Project. Her dissertation explains cross-national variations in government protections of women’s economic, social and political rights, and is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Her main areas of interest are comparative politics, women’s studies, economic globalization, and international political economy.


Abstracts and Papers

Keynote Speaker

Kaushik Basu | “Human Rights as Instruments of Emancipation and Economic Development”

Globalization can confer benefits but it also has a tendency to marginalize segments of the population. This is morally unacceptable and, in addition, creates political instability. As globalization brings the world closer together there is, therefore, an urgent need to agree on certain common human and economic rights. At the same time, given the diverse cultures and beliefs of distant nations and distinct geographies, a globalizing world makes it that much harder to agree on a common code of rights. The talk will explore what we need to do and what we can do, and argue that minimal human and economic rights are essential ingredients for development. The task is not easy, since a well-meaning global agreement can trample on local needs and freedoms, and there are intricate analytical issues that need to be solved to avoid an unexpected backlash. One has to delve into philosophy and economics to sort through the puzzles and conundrums of human rights in a globalizing world. Doing this successfully will not solve all conflicts, but it can put to rest a large number of conflicts that are spurious, and are caused by ill-specified terms and misstated agendas.



Clair Apodaca | “Measuring the Progressive Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”

On the face of it economic, social and cultural rights appear to be easily and adequately measured. After all, the World Bank, the International Labor Organization, the IMF, UNESCO, UNDP, among many other international institutions, collect and publish volumes of data. However, many measures currently collected and analyzed have limited relevance. Economic, social and cultural rights are more then the state’s economic development, or on the human side, greater then simply measures of poverty. Following the previous sections debate over the concept of positive rights this paper will attempt to determine how extensive a list of variables or indicators will be required to measure the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights.


Albino Barrera | “Economic Rights in the Knowledge Economy: An Instrumental Justification”

The advent of globalization is an opportune moment for an instrumental justification of economic rights. A high degree of human capital development is a necessary condition for long-term efficiency in the postindustrial economy. The “entry cost” for effective market participation includes not only literacy but also numeracy and tacit knowledge. Moreover, since knowledge has taken an even more central role in value creation, the postindustrial economy’s long-term dynamic growth is now ever more a function of the quality of its aggregate social and human capital. It is in the long-term interest of the knowledge economy to ensure that the basic needs of market participants are met. In addition, economic agents should be provided with meaningful opportunities for participating in the economy as these are the venues for skills development and for accumulating tacit knowledge. Both of the latter are critical for the continued innovative dynamism required by a “learning” economy. Thus, a case can be made for a minimum basket of positive entitlements based on their instrumental value in sustaining allocative efficiency in the knowledge economy. Becker’s and Lancaster’s household production model provides a neoclassical economic framework with which to justify economic rights.


Audrey R. Chapman | “The Status of Efforts to Monitor Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights”

In 1996 this author published an article in the Human Rights Quarterly with the central theme that if economic, social, and cultural rights were to be taken seriously, there needed to be a change in the paradigm for evaluating compliance with the norms set forth in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It argued that “progressive realization,” the primary standard then used to assess state compliance, is inexact and renders these rights difficult to monitor. The article set forth five methodological preconditions for systematic monitoring and concluded that none were being fulfilled. It also criticized the lack of commitment to these rights by the UN human rights apparatus and international NGOs.

In view of the lack of conceptual and methodological development, the article proposed moving to an approach that would focus on violations of these rights rather than progressive realization of their requirements. A group of jurists met the following year and drafted the Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Although the Maastricht Guidelines do not have official status, they have influenced the work of nongovernmental organizations and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

This presentation will provide an overview of developments affecting the understanding and monitoring of economic, social, and cultural rights during the past nine years. It will review the development of interest in these rights in the human rights community and trends in the work of UN treaty monitoring bodies. It will evaluate where we are in meeting the five methodological preconditions for systematic monitoring set forth in 1996. In particular, the presentation will explore the utility and limitations of three methodologies for assessing states’ compliance: a violations approach, a focus on core obligations, and efforts to measure progressive realization. The presentation will also discuss issues related to the development of indicators and benchmarks, which is an important component of assessing progressive realization.


David L. Cingranelli, David L. Richards | “Measuring Government Respect for Economic Human Rights”

Since the end of the Cold War, economic human rights have been given increasing attention. International debates between the representatives of economically developed and developing countries over trade and development aid have included discussions of probable or actual impacts on economic human rights. A growing literature demonstrating the linkage of economic globalization, government respect for human rights, inequality within nations, and the probability of state failure has placed economic human rights in a new light of salience for policymakers. Scholars who have given attention to the subject have analyzed cross-national variations in the level of government protection of economic human rights, using such measures as the Physical Quality of Life Index and the Human Development Index. The problem with such measures is that they are highly correlated with national wealth, and they reflect human rights conditions experienced by the people living in a country — not the human rights practices of governments. This paper establishes and implements a method for measuring the degree of government effort to protect internationally recognized economic human rights. Results and analyses are provided for a sample of 195 countries for the years 1981 to 2002.


Clarence Dias | “Progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights through human rights-based development”

The paper focuses on two, formally unrelated trends: the growing interest and focus in the academic and human rights communities on economic, social and cultural rights and the increasing adoption by the development practitioner community (both multilateral and bilateral)of a human rights-based approach to development.

The paper will examine new methodologies that are evolving within each of the above-mentioned two communities: the development of proactive approaches to human rights to complement reactive (violations-focused) approaches and the adoption of the UN Common Understanding on a Human Rights-based Approach to Development Programming.

The paper will suggest new linkages that will need to be developed between human rights scholars and practitioners; development scholars and practitioners; grass roots communities; and NGOs.

Finally, the paper will suggest what needs to be done to impact on the current situation in the human rights community regarding:
• Legal education
• Human rights education
• Human rights conferences and seminars
• National Human Rigths Development Reports to promote the greater realization of economic, social and cultural rights through a human rights-based approach to development.


Jack Donnelly | “Liberalism and Economic Rights”

A pervasive myth in the human rights literature paints liberalism as opposed to economic rights. This story usually takes one of two forms. The first argues that liberalism rejects all economic rights. But virtually every liberal of every stripe from Locke on has given an important to place to the right property — an economic, not a civil, right. The second argues that liberals recognize only a right to property, not other economic rights. This view has indeed been held by a small minority of liberals over the past half century, and a somewhat larger group in earlier eras. It is not, however, a necessary element of a liberal theory of human rights. Quite the contrary, I will argue, it is incompatible with a central body of liberal rights theory, running from Locke, through Paine, to Rawls. It is thus not an accident that all liberal democratic states for more than half a century have been deeply committed to a substantial range of economic rights. In fact, I will argue, only in liberal democratic states has the often cited principle of the interdependence and indivisibility of all human rights has been taken seriously in practice in any sustained and systematic way.

The paper concludes by looking at two apparent contemporary exceptions to this reading, the United States in its domestic ideology and practice and the neo-liberal “Washington consensus” on international development. Neither, I will argue, actually fits the caricature of an assault on economic rights by the right to property — a vision that is largely shared by the left and the far right, despite their differences in evaluating such a strategy. The (very real) shortcomings in these approaches to economic rights simply cannot be attributed to liberalism. Quite the contrary, I will argue that the mainstream of the liberal rights tradition continues to provide powerful theoretical and practical arguments against an overemphasis on the right to property and for the centrality of economic rights.


Peter Dorman | “Worker Rights and Economic Policy”

Worker rights cannot be defined solely in legal terms; they also make positive demands on economic policy, since workers, and indeed individuals generally, have rights only if it is in their interest to utilize them. This proposition is defended in principle and illustrated with two examples, the right to safe working conditions and the right to be free of exploitative or otherwise harmful child labor. Two related objections are considered. First, it has been argued that economic development is the precondition for worker rights of the sort I have described. Second, it is often claimed that there are significant tradeoffs between policies to safeguard rights and policies to promote economic growth. Taken together, they suggest that, in mistaken pursuit of worker rights in the present context, we may retard the emergence of such rights in the long run. The evidence for the first is weak, but there is somewhat more evidence for the second. Overall, there is no reason to hypothesize a worker rights Kuznets Curve, but there is a case for transnational coordination of policies supportive of such rights.


David Forsythe | "International Welfare Rights: The US Record at Home and Abroad"

Much has been made of the fact that the United States does not officially recognize a fundamental personal entitlement to food, clothing, shelter, health care and work for a living wage both at home and abroad. While true, this essay questions whether too much emphasis can be placed on this fact. This essay examines the central hypothesis that the actual US approach to, and record of accomplishment on, many of these issues is not that different from some other western democracies. First, some history is given about US views toward welfare issues, stressing the views of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the official retreat from those views after 1945.

Second, US contemporary policies toward citizen access to food, clothing, shelter, health care, and work for a living wage are discussed, in comparison to selected other countries starting with the Netherlands. The author expects to find that while there are some differences, there are many similarities. The author expects to conclude that in domestic policy on welfare issues, the US shows more similarities with these other countries of comparison than is widely appreciated.

Third, US contemporary policies toward welfare rights abroad are discussed, in relation to certain international agencies active on these issues. The author expects to find that even as the UNDP,UNICEF, and WHO have become more rights oriented, framing their activities in terms of personal entitlements, the US has NOT reduced its financial and diplomatic support for those agencies. With some exceptions, the author expects to find continuing US support for international welfare agencies on pragmatic policy grounds, despite their emphasis on international welfare rights.

Finally, the author concludes with some thoughts on the importance of formal acceptance of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and other international norms such as “the right to development.”


Sakiko Fukuda-Parr | “Rich countries obligations for development: Goal 8 of the Millennium Development Goals the lens of human rights”

This paper asks the question – does Goal 8 of the Millennium Development Goals constitute rich country obligations to promote the rights to development of people in poor countries, and if so, what would be the appropriate indicators to monitor the fulfillment of these obligations? One of the most significant developments since 2000 has been the international policy initiative to accelerate development to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the agreed targets in cutting income poverty, hunger, gender disparities, and improvements in health, environment, schooling. Among them is a goal for strengthening international partnership. Though not expressed with the language of human rights, the MDGs are arguably mechanisms to promote the realization of economic and social rights. And the international partnership goal reflects the obligations of rich countries to take action.


Michael Goodhart | “A Democratic Defense of Economic Rights and Basic Income”

This paper articulates and defends the provision of basic income to all citizens as a democratic requirement. It briefly surveys historical and contemporary democratic arguments for the right to economic independence, integrates these arguments into a broad, comprehensive account of democratic human rights, and justifies basic income as a necessary part of an effective social guarantee for those rights. This approach provides a sound warrant for the familiar but sometimes wobbly conceptual claim that all human rights are indivisible and interdependent. It also strengthens the case for economic rights by showing that they are necessary for the realization of other widely recognized democratic rights. Finally, it offers concrete suggestions for configuring and implementing social and economic rights. I argue that basic income is much more feasible politically than many alternative proposals for realizing social and economic rights and that it survives standard objections regarding the nature of the duties and obligations associated with these rights and regarding the purported tension between democracy and human rights.


Philip Harvey | “Quantitative, Qualitative and Equal Opportunity Aspects of the Right to Work”

Support for the right to work (as it has been defined in documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) has eroded during the last several decades, even on the part of organizations that advocate on behalf of workers rights. The role played in this trend by the evolving views of professional economists on the subject of full employment is analyzed, and the implications of the trend for other economic and social rights are assessed. Efforts to salvage support for the right to work by redefining it in ways that de-emphasizes the role of full employment in securing the right are evaluated and criticized, and the consequent need for human rights advocates to develop the capacity to address economic policy issues from a human rights perspective is noted. To assist in this effort, a simple set of benchmarks is proposed for use by human rights advocates in conceptualizing the right to work and for monitoring progress towards securing it. The key features of these benchmarks are (1) their grounding in the conceptual framework of the Universal Declaration, (2) the distinction they draw between the quantitative, qualitative, and equal opportunity aspects of the right to work, and (3) the emphasis they place on recognizing that progress in securing protection for any of these aspects of the right to work does not compensate for a failure to secure the other aspects.


Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, Susan Dicklitch | “Achieving Economic Rights in Africa: Ghana and Uganda”

While economic rights are proclaimed in international law, in practice they are a matter of public policy. At the domestic level, protection of economic rights requires choices about how to allocate scarce goods. However, it is also possible to promote the protection of economic rights by refraining from actions that violate individuals’ economic rights, and by implementing civil and political rights.

Protection of economic rights is dependent on international as well as national policies. Many human rights scholars assume that economic human rights are harmed by globalization, and by institutions associated with globalization such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. This paper will consider the possibility that the economic changes impelled by globalization and managed by world institutions may, to the contrary, promote economic rights.

To illustrate the statements above, this paper will investigate two recent African “success stories,” to determine if, how and why they have made progress in economic rights in the last twenty years. The two success stories are Ghana and Uganda. These two countries have had radically different political histories since independence, yet both are now considered “model” African countries. Ghana has never had a civil war. Uganda suffered civil wars under two extremely brutal dictators, and many hundreds of thousands died in the period 1972-86. Ghana is now a democracy: Uganda is an authoritarian no-party state. The paper will assess which factors, both domestic and international, allow each to be a “model” African country, and what possible risks to economic rights each country faces.


Mwangi S. Kimenyi | “Economic Rights, Human Development Effort and Institutions”

This paper focuses on the link between economic rights and institutions. Simple analysis of data is used to demonstrate countries’ human development effort in advancing economics rights of the citizens. A country’s human development effort is evaluated on the basis of the well-being of the poorest members of the society. An analysis of data reveals that there is a wide variation in countries’ pro-poor stance as evidenced by their human development effort. Classifying countries into human development income deficit and human development effort deficit, it is demonstrated that a large number of countries could achieve higher welfare levels for the poor if they adopted amore pro-poor stance. The paper attempts to explain variations in the observed commitment to economic rights by focusing on pro-poor institutions. The basic thesis advanced in the paper is that pro-poor policies are more likely to be implemented and sustained in those institutions where power is sufficiently diffused such that even the poor have leverage over policy outcomes. The paper focuses on how institutions impact on power diffusion and therefore the adoption of pro-poor policies. The failure of countries to adopt pro-poor policies is attributed to institutional failures manifested in concentration of power. The policy recommendations emanating from the analysis focus on institutional reforms to enhance power diffusion. These policies include enlarging the political space through democratization, strengthening institutions and capacity to fight corruption and improve transparency, and a bringing the government closer to the people through appropriate design and implementation of decentralization schemes.


Wiktor Osiatynski | “Needs-based approach to social and economic rights”

The paper deals with the relationship between social and economic rights and civil liberties and political rights. It looks at historical and contextual differences between the three categories of rights and the diversified ways in which all of them are indispensable for the protection of human dignity. The context of the discussion is the interplay between the protection of rights and setting public policy goals in a constitutional democracy. While rights preclude the outcome of public decisions, public policy and a political process require compromises and ongoing debate about social priorities. The main thesis of the paper is that it is more useful to talk about social an economic needs than rights. In this perspective we can, then, distinguish between the needs that should be protected by constitutional rights, the needs that should be protected by statutory rights, and the needs that should merely be a subject of public policy. The balance between these three types of protection should be a matter of an ongoing public debate. The paper ends with the practical propositions of legislative and institutional change and with suggestions for further research.


Sigrun Skogly, Mark Gibney | “Economic Rights and Extraterritorial Obligations”

Human rights are universally declared to be universal yet the protection of those rights (and even violations of those rights) has been severely limited by territorial considerations. When a child does not receive an education in Kenya, to simply use one example, this situation is viewed as a human rights violation committed by Kenya – but that state alone. Under this approach to human rights – a grossly erroneous approach as we will show in our paper – millions of individuals have been left without any form of human rights protection.

The gist of our paper is that the human rights enterprise will be condemned to failure unless and until states’ extraterritorial obligations come to be recognized and enforced. Part I examines the system of international human rights treaty law. The very meaning of each one of these treaties is the idea (but also the legal commitment) to protect the human rights of all other people. Somehow this point has been lost. Part II focuses on economic, social and cultural rights more specifically. What we show through an analysis of various treaties is that the framers clearly sought to protect these rights through extraterritorial obligations.


Shawna Sweeny | “Respect for Women’s Economic Rights: A Cross-National Analysis, 1981-2004.”

This study seeks to determine why countries across the globe accord varying levels of respect to women’s economic rights. Specifically, this research reports the results of a comparative cross-national study of the relationship between four major trends – economic globalization, increasing levels of democracy in many nations, separation of state and religion (political secularism), and internationalization of human rights norms – and government respect for women’s economic rights in 160 countries between 1981 to 2004. My findings provide significant support for the argument that women’s economic rights attainment is driven by political secularism, democracy, trade globalization, and economic development. Importantly, my research confirms the findings of a wide body of human rights literature that economic development is an essential pre-condition for the advancement of human rights. For my measure of women’s economic rights, I use an original four-point standards-based ordinal measure that captures the extent to which women are able to exercise a number of internationally recognized rights in the economic realm, and the extent to which government enforces these rights. This measure is from the Cingranelli andRichards (CIRI) Human Rights Data Set.