International Corporate Bribery and Unilateral Enforcement

58 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2015

Date Written: May 1, 2013


This Article explores how unilateral action to regulate international corporate bribery can serve as a partial substitute for multilateral action. The standard account generally assumes that domestic efforts to combat international corporate bribery disadvantage domestic corporations and create a structural impediment to broader multilateral cooperation. This model, however, underestimates the extent to which states can and do regulate international corporate bribery through unilateral action, and in particular, through the enforcement of domestic laws against foreign actors. This Article argues that the extraterritorial enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has created a strong incentive for foreign corporations to comply with anti-bribery norms and that this development mitigates many of the concerns on which corruption theorists have focused. The Article concludes that extraterritorial enforcement of the FCPA provides a powerful motivation for other countries to cooperate in international corruption efforts but that this unilateral enforcement may raise different and equally problematic concerns.

Suggested Citation

Magnuson, William J., International Corporate Bribery and Unilateral Enforcement (May 1, 2013). Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 51, No. 360, 2013, Available at SSRN:

William J. Magnuson (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States

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