Do Pro-Market Economic Reforms Drive Human Rights Violations? An Empirical Assessment, 1981-2006

45 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2017

See all articles by Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati

Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati

University College Dublin (UCD) - Department of Politics

Indra De Soysa

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Date Written: January 5, 2017

Abstract

Liberals argue that economic policy reforms will benefit most in terms of better access to goods, less inflation and better economic opportunities. Critics of market reforms, among them Marxists, critical theorists, skeptics of globalization as well as a large portion of the NGO community, see the majority as losers from such reform, expecting resistance that would lead to political repression. They suggest that free-market policy reforms are analogous to “swallowing the bitter pill.” We make use of the change in the Index of Economic Freedom as a measure of market liberalizing reforms, employing data from a panel of 117 countries for the period from 1981–2006. Our results show a strong positive association between reforms towards more free markets with regard to governments’ respect for human rights, controlling for a host of relevant factors, including the possibility of endogeneity. The results are robust in relation to sample size, alternative data and methods, and a sample of only developing countries; and they are substantively quite large. Our results support those who argue that freer markets generate better economic conditions and higher levels of social harmony and peace, and it seems as if getting there is less problematic than people generally think — in fact, halfhearted measures and backsliding on reforms could be dangerous to human rights.

Keywords: free-market economic reforms, human rights, endogeneity

Suggested Citation

Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya and De Soysa, Indra, Do Pro-Market Economic Reforms Drive Human Rights Violations? An Empirical Assessment, 1981-2006 (January 5, 2017). Public Choice, Vol. 150, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2894467

Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati (Contact Author)

University College Dublin (UCD) - Department of Politics ( email )

Belfield
Dublin 4
Ireland

Indra De Soysa

Norwegian University of Science and Technology ( email )

Høgskoleringen
Trondheim NO-7491, 7491
Norway

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