Quantitative Measures of Equal Rights in Constitutions: Methods and Key Findings

Quantitative measures of constitutional rights enable rapid comparisons of the quality of rights across countries for different aspects of identity. We have constructed an original database of 50 specific civil, political, social, economic, and equal constitutional rights across 14 aspects of identity for 193 countries. We find that fewer constitutions guarantee equal rights for persons with disabilities or on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) than on the basis of other aspects of identity. Constitutions are also more likely to explicitly deny or allow for exceptions to the full enjoyment of rights for these groups. However, newer constitutions have increasingly recognized equality rights based on disability and SOGI. We outline the methodology for creating comparable quantitative measures and show how they can be used to visually map the status of constitutional rights, identify regional outliers, and show trends over time in constitutional protections.