Jeffords Presents on Constitutional Environmental Rights and Outcomes

Posted on 1/8/2014 1:29:50 PM

Christopher Jeffords, Department of Economics, presented a working paper entitled “Do Constitutions Matter? The Effects of Environmental Rights Provisions on Environmental Outcomes” (coauthored with Lanse Minkler, University of Connecticut) within a Law and Social Economics panel on January 5, 2014, at the American Economic Association annual meeting.

The panel was sponsored by the Association for Social Economics through which (in 2010) Jeffords won the William R. Waters Research Grant for his dissertation research on environmental economics and environmental human rights.

Controlling for various social, economic, institutional, geographic, and temporal factors, Professors Jeffords and Minkler find that having a (national) constitutional environmental rights provision is positively related to environmental outcomes as measured by Yale’s Environmental Performance Index. They also find that the language of the constitutional provisions is important where stronger language (in a legal sense) is positively related to environmental outcomes.

The process of collecting and coding the constitutional provisions data was conducted by Jeffords and published as a book chapter entitled “Constitutional Environmental Human Rights: A Descriptive Analysis of 142 National Constitutions,” in Lanse Minkler (ed.), The State of Economic and Social Human Rights: A Global Overview, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2013).

Department of Economics