New Paper on Environmental Networks and Justice by Jeffords and Gellers Listed in Top Ten Recent Papers

Posted on 9/9/2015 8:27:14 AM

A new working paper by Christopher Jeffords (Department of Economics) and Joshua Gellers (Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Florida) is listed in the Social Science Research Network’s Top Ten Recent Papers in Environmental Networks and Justice.


The global trend toward the adoption of environmental rights within national constitutions has been largely regarded as a positive development for both human rights and the natural environment. The impact of constitutional environmental rights, however, has yet to be systematically assessed using empirical data. In particular, the expansion of procedural environmental rights—legal provisions relating to access to information, participation, and justice in environmental matters—provides fertile ground for analyzing how environmental rights directly interface with conditions necessary for a functioning democracy. In order to understand the extent to which these provisions deliver on their lofty aspirations, Jeffords and Gellers conduct a quantitative analysis designed to evaluate the relationship between procedural environmental rights and environmental justice. The results demonstrate that states with procedural environmental rights are more likely than non-adopting states to facilitate the attainment of environmental justice, especially as it relates to access to information.

In particular, they find that countries with a constitutional procedural environmental right to information report (on average) that urban access to an improved water source is 4.421 percentage points higher, and rural access is 13.44 percentage points higher. These effects persist when controlling for the presence of constitutional substantive environmental rights, country-level sociodemographic characteristics, as well as for three categories of resource constraints: income, institutional, and natural.