Toronto Initiative for Economic and Social Rights



» April 2014 Version of the TIESR Dataset
» Coding Manual
» Constitution Reports
» Report on version 1.0 of the Dataset
» Version 1.0

The TIESR Dataset contains quantitative information on the constitutional status of seventeen separate economic and social rights in nearly every country in the world.  The Dataset measures both the presence or absence of economic and social rights and whether those rights are justiciable or aspirational.  It includes additional data on the constitutional commitment to a free market and ratification of the ICESCR.

Whether particular rights are in fact justiciable – enforceable through the domestic court system and subject to legal remedy – depends in part on factors beyond the constitution alone.  Nevertheless constitutional texts offer a variety of insights regarding the status of ESRs.

Even if constitutionally entrenched justiciability does not guarantee legal remedy, it does normally establish where economic and social rights have formally co-equal status with civil and political rights in the constitution.  Since ESRs have long been considered subordinate to civil and political rights, their comparative standing within a constitution may tell us as much about their relative contemporary status as measuring their mere presence or absence. 

At least some economic and social rights now appear in more than 95% of constitutions, and a majority of constitutions include a wide range of such rights.  In more than one third of constitutions, ESRs generally have co-equal constitutional status with civil and political rights.  Another third still identify most economic and social rights as aspirational principles, and the rest include a mix of aspirational and justiciable rights.  Our data also reveal which rights are most, and least, often included in constitutions.

The TIESR dataset was independently coded by two researchers; disagreements between the coders were reconciled by a separate panel.  We nevertheless request that users help to improve the data's reliability by reporting mistakes and/or differences of interpretation by sending an email to

Conditions of use
Part of the goal of this website is to contribute to an online community of knowledge regarding economic and social rights.  As part of that project, we request that authors using this dataset agree to post papers that use the data on this website.  Please send papers to

Please use the following citation when using this data:
Jung, Courtney, “TIESR Dataset,” Toronto Initiative for Economic and Social Rights, online at

»  TIESR Dataset

The data were coded as follows:






  • The government can be taken to court for failing to guarantee the social and economic rights promised in the constitution.
  • Citizens have legal recourse to ensure the fulfillment of their constitutional rights; usually a mechanism for judicial review enshrined in the constitution


Directive Principles of State Policy/ Aspirational

  • Enumeration of constitutional rights intended to guide state policy and/or express ideals but they are not binding. Directs government to take social welfare into account when making policy decisions, but creates no obligation to do so.
  • Citizens do not have legal recourse to ensure the fulfillment of their constitutional rights
  • SER are not considered fundamental rights



  • The item is not mentioned in the constitution, either as a justiciable or aspirational right, or as a directive principle.

» Coding manual

The quantitative analysis of qualitative documents involves many judgment calls.  In the case of this project, establishing the criteria that would determine what counted as a “right,” what counted as “justiciable,” and what counted as “aspirational” was an iterative process.  We established the criteria, we reviewed 15 or 20 cases to see how well the criteria worked, we revisited the criteria to more accurately reflect what we learned from actual constitutional texts, and we then went back to the cases with the new criteria.  The criteria, decisions, and justifications that were made in building the Dataset are laid out in the coding manual.

At least two, and sometimes three, researchers coded each constitution independently.  In cases of disagreement among coders, cases were reviewed by a three-person panel including the principal investigator and an external specialist in constitutional law.  Such reviews normally led to a further refinement of the criteria.  One researcher was responsible for the final production of the Dataset, and he went over every decision on every right, further ensuring uniformity of decision-rules.

»  Constitution reports

A second researcher was responsible for reviewing and editing the individual reports on the text of each constitution. These documents ground and expand on the data presented in the dataset, identifying the title, chapter, and article in which the right can be found.  These constitution reports should make it easier to see why specific rights were coded as justiciable or aspirational, and are designed to provide greater detail for readers interested in a specific right or a specific country.