International Trade and Human Rights: An Economic Perspective

33 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2003

See all articles by Alan Sykes

Alan Sykes

Stanford University - Law School

Date Written: June 2003


Opponents of globalization in general and of the World Trade Organization in particular often contend that a tension exists between the growth of open markets and various conceptions of "human rights." This paper takes issue with such claims. Both theory and the available empirical evidence suggest that the growth of the trading system generally tends to promote rather than to undermine human rights. Any tensions are best resolved through tailored interventions that directly address the human rights impairment without sacrificing the wider benefits of freer trade.

Keywords: economic development

Suggested Citation

Sykes, Alan, International Trade and Human Rights: An Economic Perspective (June 2003). Available at SSRN: or

Alan Sykes (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

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