Munich Personal RePEc Archive

DO CHOICE & SPEED OF REFORMS MATTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DURING TRANSITION?

Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya (2008): DO CHOICE & SPEED OF REFORMS MATTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DURING TRANSITION?

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Abstract

Conventional wisdom posits absence of systematic relationship between economic reforms and human rights. Taking the case of transition economies, Vadlamannati & Soysa (2008) shows significant positive relationship between economic reforms and various forms of human rights. This brings us to the next question on the impact of choice and speed of reforms on human rights performance. In other words, does speed and choice of reforms increase or decrease government respect for human rights in transition economies? This is the question our paper tries to address. The Anglo-Saxon perspective is that speed of reforms lead to growth and development which inturn generates respect for human rights. While skeptics contend that rushing towards a free market economy would always be destructive as development process tends to be exclusive creating exogenous shocks leading to social and economic unrest. This leads to domestic violence and conflicts, allowing governments to resort to repressive measures.

We use a new method to construct ‘speed of reforms’ variable for transition economies for the period 1993 – 2006 to estimate its impact on all forms of human rights. Further, using the methodology of Wolf (1999) on discrete groupings of choice of reforms of transition economies, we classify the countries under radical, gradual and laggard reformer groups. We measure the impact of speed of reforms on human rights performance conditioned by choice of reforms.

Our findings show that speed of reforms significantly improves government respect for all forms of human rights, while volatility in reforms is associated with human rights abuses. But the interesting finding is that, controlling for the speed of reforms attained, the choice with which the country has reformed plays pivotal role in determining human rights performance. While radical reforming countries are associated with better human rights performance, gradualists and laggards share poor human rights performance.

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