Nearly all written constitutions in the developing world contain one or more economic and social rights. However, some rights are more commonly enshrined than others, and there is wide variation in terms of whether such rights are identified as justiciable – enforceable in a court of law – or merely aspirational. The most interesting variations occur along three dimensions: time, region, and legal tradition. Most constitutions are new, and the contemporary constitutional model affords greater standing to economic and social rights than the previous post-War model. There are significant regional differences in the relative prevalence of such rights, and some regions exhibit a clear regional norm with respect to economic and social rights. Finally, the constitutions of common law countries are significantly less likely to include economic and social rights, and to identify them as justiciable, than those of civil law countries. This article reports some of the initial findings of a new dataset measuring the constitutional entrenchment of economic and social rights.

Keywords: Economic Rights, Social Rights, Constitutions.