Beginning with an outline of the origins of economic and social rights found within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, this chapter provides an overview of the current state of quantitative economic and social rights research. The focus begins with general indicators of economic and social rights outcomes, such as the Social and Economic Rights Fulfillment Index and ultimately considers the nascent research on specific rights including the rights to social security and work, the right to a healthy environment, and the rights to education and health.
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.