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This book is a first-of-its-kind, five-country empirical study of the causes and consequences of social and economic rights litigation. Detailed studies of Brazil, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and South Africa present systematic and nuanced accounts of court activity on social and economic rights in each country. The book develops new methodologies for analyzing the sources of and variation in social and economic rights litigation, explains why actors are now turning to the courts to enforce social and economic rights, measures the aggregate impact of litigation in each country, and assesses the relevance of the empirical findings for legal theory. This book argues that courts can advance social and economic rights under the right conditions precisely because they are never fully independent of political pressures.