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On the temporal effects of static constitutional environmental rights provisions on access to improved sanitation facilities and water sources

Christopher Jeffords

Keywords: constitutions; constitutional law; environmental rights; sanitation; water; legal origins; panel data; fixed effects

Using novel panel data on constitutional environmental rights (CER) for 190 countries from 1990 to 2012, this paper questions if the presence/language of CER provisions provides increased access to improved sanitation facilities and drinking water sources. While implementing statutory laws/regulations derived from CER provisions is a dynamic process, the presence/language of CER provisions is temporally fixed. To capture these dynamics, the presence of a CER and a measure of its legal strength are interacted with its age as explanatory variables within a fixed effects framework yielding: (1) no evidence of an association between the CER measures and access to improved sanitation facilities; (2) a positive statistically significant association between ageing CER provisions and access to improved water sources; and (3) a positive but weakly statistically significant association between the legal strength of ageing CER provisions and access to improved water sources, which is improved upon for countries with British as opposed to French legal origins.

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