Beyond Aspirations:

Testing the Impact of Justiciable and Non-justiciable Constitutional Rights to Housing


An increasing number of countries around the world are adopting formal constitutional rights to housing and shelter. In light of this development, as well as the proliferation of social and economic rights constitutionalism more generally, scholars have debated whether directive principles or justiciable rights are the best means of ensuring that rights move beyond paper and impact the lives of those most in need. One prime example of this line of inquiry is presented by Kaletski, et al. (2014) who find that the age of a constitution interacts with some justiciable social and economic rights to produce greater impact; their model, however, finds that enforceable housing rights have no significant effect. Focusing on a sample of middle and lower income countries, I test whether constitutional provisions recognizing the right to housing increase urban populations’ access to housing as well as the quality of housing. Additionally, I test whether justiciable rights produce a greater impact on urban housing provision and quality than directive principles. Lastly, I employ two tests of the hypothesis that justiciability is more likely to lead to progressive realization of housing rights over time.

This was a course paper in a graduate seminar during my first year of graduate school, UT Austin, 2016.