Social rights and economics: Claims to health care and education in developing countries

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The paper analyzes rights-based and economic approaches to the provision of health care and education in developing countries. It assesses the foundations and uses of social rights in development, outlines the economic approach to health care and education, highlights differences and similarities, and assesses the hard questions that the economic critique poses for rights. The paper argues that the policy consequences of the approaches overlap considerably. Differences include the consequences of long-term deprivation, metrics for tradeoffs, and the behavioral distortions of subsidies. But the differences are not irreconcilable, and advocates of the approaches need not regard each other as antagonists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-477
Number of pages13
JournalWorld Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Development
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Health care
  • Human rights
  • Social rights


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