International human rights law, global economic reforms, and child survival and development rights outcomes

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34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Are recent trends in international law supporting child rights and promoting neoliberal economic reforms complementary or contradictory? To answer this question, we identify the component parts of child rights mobilization, recent global economic reforms, and child rights outcomes to theorize the particular relationships among them. Focusing on child survival and development rights in 99 poor and middle-income countries from 1983 to 2001, we find that countries' acquiescence to established international law concerning economic rights influences the successful implementation of most of these rights, while the ratification of child rights treaties does not show an effect during the period studied. National links to child rights nongovernmental organizations are also associated with improved child rights outcomes, as is being selected to receive a loan from the World Bank (for reducing child labor and increasing immunizations). We find weak support for the hypothesis that the implementation of loan conditionalities is more deleterious for rights that are costlier to implement. We also find that achieving the goal of neoliberal economic reforms - trade openness - results in less successful implementation of most child rights outcomes considered. Finally, in a related analysis, we find that the ratification of child rights treaties, as well as the adoption and implementation of structural adjustment agreements, enhances the presence of child-related organizations within countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-490
Number of pages36
JournalLaw and Society Review
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009

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