The Impact of Ratification of Human Rights Treaties on Economic Inequality

Giorgio Tortorici (University of Palermo)
Mario Lavezzi (University of Palermo)
Samantha Ajovalasit (University of Palermo)

Abstract

A large recent literature emphasized the economic effects that institutions can have on the economic development of a country (see \citealp{Acemoglu2}, for the discussion of this hypothesis). This work proposes the analysis of a specific case, namely the effect of the diffusion of human rights, which can be considered as proxy for the improvement in institutional quality, on inequality. The fundamental idea is that the ratification of two main United Nations Covenants on Human Rights might have implied the implementation of reforms that, by increasing individuals' freedom and by expanding the possibilities of participation in the social and economic activities of a country, allowed individuals to improve their economic conditions reducing in this way economic inequality.

In particular, we propose an empirical analysis of the effect of income inequality, measured by the Gini index, of countries' ratification of the two key treaties (The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICCPR, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ICESCR) and of their protocols in the period 1960-2015.

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