Christopher Jeffords, Department of Economics, and Lanse Minkler (University of Connecticut) recently completed a working paper entitled
“Do Constitutions Matter? The Effects of Constitutional Environmental Rights
Provisions on Environmental Outcomes.”
The paper is available through the University of Connecticut
Department of Economics Working Paper Series and via IDEAS/RePEc.
Jeffords and Minkler use a novel data set within an instrumental
variables framework to test whether the presence and legal strength of
constitutional environmental rights are related to environmental outcomes.
outcome variables include Yale’s Environmental Performance Index and some of
its components. The analysis accounts for the possibility that a country which
takes steps to protect the environment might also be more likely to
constitutionalize environmental rights.
Controls include: (1) gross domestic
product per capita; (2) whether the country is a party to the International
Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; (3) rule of law; (4)
population density; and (5) exogenous geographic effects. The inclusion of
income means that the study is directly related to the Environmental Kuznets
Jeffords and Minkler find that constitutions do indeed matter
for positive environmental outcomes, which suggests that we should not only pay
attention to the incentives confronting polluters and resource users, but also
to the incentives and constraints confronting those policymakers who initiate,
monitor, and enforce environmental policies.
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