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Submitted by Anders Zeijlon on

I think human rights and welfare economics live quite weel together, and typically pull in the same direction - especially after the human rights folks adopted the concept of progressive realization of rights (a state is not violating the right as long as there are serious efforts in place to realize it). But one difficult area is that of compensation and distribution. When I took welfare economics we were taught that moving from situation A to B is preferred and justified if the winners' befefits are greater than the losers' costs, i.e. if there is a net gain and the winners could compensate the losters and still be better off than before. Human rights practiciners will say that this is not enough but that compensation must actually take place for A to be preferred to B. On another note, I fully agree with your point about the importance of right to information - the by now well known example of the school budget that was made puplic in a village in Uganda and led to public pressure for funds to be used as intended is a good illustration.