In Chile, many commentators, academics and political leaders have spent years arguing that the limited nature of the social rights in the national constitution is partially responsible for the country’s economic and social inequality. It is thus unsurprising that changing the scope of the country’s social rights was a major focus of the recently failed constitutional reform effort. However, we argue that the long-running claim that Chile’s social problems were due to the limited nature of social rights can be thought of as social rights scapegoating, by which we mean that commentators blamed outcomes on constitutional rights, even though there is little evidence that countries’ socio-economic outcomes are a product of their social rights.

Adam Chilton, Cristián Eyzaguirre & Mila Versteeg, Social Rights Scapegoating, Global Constitutionalism, 1–8 (2023).