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Better development decision-making: applying international human rights law to neoclassical economics

Salomon, Margot E. and Arnott, Colin (2014) Better development decision-making: applying international human rights law to neoclassical economics. Nordic Journal of Human Rights, 32 (1). pp. 44-74. ISSN 1891-8131

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Identification Number: 10.1080/18918131.2013.878892


This paper aims to demonstrate that a human rights-compliant normative approach offers solutions to some of the specific areas of concern for economic decision-making in the context of development, as well as for meeting the requirements of human rights. The authors, an international lawyer and economist respectively, draw on the doctrines that inform international human rights law in the area of socio-economic rights and by providing a careful construction that meets the didactic demands of a cross-disciplinary inquiry, reveal how the externally-generated ethical criteria of international human rights law provide welfare economics with the justice-centred guidance it lacks, moving it beyond the conventional premises of economic efficiency and aggregate social utility. The merits of this study transcend that of academic pursuit: most international organisations favour mainstream economics with development economists adopting the value judgments and allocation efficiency principles of neoclassical welfare economics. Integrating the normative demands of human rights into mainstream economic thinking and decision-making may thus offer international development and financial institutions insights that help set alternative norms and value judgments that can act as an integral complement to welfare economic analysis.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Divisions: Law
LSE Human Rights
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JX International law
K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2014 15:13
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:10
Funders: World Bank's Nordic Trust Fund

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