Christopher Jeffords’ forthcoming publication in the Pennsylvania Economic Review considers the economic and legal
ramifications of the constitutional human right to water explicitly stated
in Article I, Section 27 (“Natural Resources and the Public Estate”) of
Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas yields at least two possible negative
externalities associated with drinking water: a reduction in the quantity, quality,
or both. Furthermore, these externalities can engender an inability to fulfill
the minimum quantity and quality requirements of the human right to water.
paper develops a basic externality model to: (1) demonstrate how violations of
these minimum requirements can occur; and (2) offer a human rights and economic
policy framework to address the violations. By extending the neoclassical
conception of the social optimum and considering the role of constitutional
environmental human rights, violations are addressed and mitigated with a
Pigovian Tax within a due standard of care negligence model.
demonstrate how fulfillment of the right depends on the number of natural gas
producers and the extent to which each can be held accountable for violations.
The analysis also indicates that monopoly production can lead to fewer
violations of the right.
Department of Economics