The Idea of a Human Rights-Based Economic Recovery after COVID-19

26 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2020

Date Written: August 24, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a health and economic crisis of unprecedented scope. As economists and policymakers turn to the task of recovery, protecting human rights remains intrinsically important, both morally and legally. It is also instrumental to the ends of public health and economic resilience. This Article argues that the human rights to life, health, education, social security, housing, food, water and sanitation – the so-called economic and social rights – are as essential as civil and political protections. Moreover, rather than simply ameliorate the inevitable indignities and material deprivations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of duties to respect economic and social rights can help ensure their protection in the post-COVID-19 economy. For this to occur, however, the Article suggests that the application of human rights to the economic recovery should be informed by a longer history of economic crises, assisted by both international and comparative economic and social rights frameworks, and open to the institutional reimagination that the idea of human rights helps to generate.

Suggested Citation

Young, Katharine, The Idea of a Human Rights-Based Economic Recovery after COVID-19 (August 24, 2020). Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 538, Available at SSRN: or

Katharine Young (Contact Author)

Boston College - Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics