The Commitment Curve: Global Regulation of Business and Human Rights

Journal of Business and Human Rights, Vol. 3. No. 2, pp. 157-185, 2018

University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2018-27

PluriCourts Research Paper No. 18-03

31 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2018 Last revised: 19 Dec 2018

See all articles by Tori Kirkebø

Tori Kirkebø

Pluricourts

Malcolm Langford

University of Oslo, Faculty of Law, Department of Public and International Law

Date Written: September 11, 2018

Abstract

The divide between hard law and soft law approaches to global regulation of corporations in relation to human rights is partly based on empirical assumptions. Taking a step back, we assess the claims concerning the current state of global regulation and political feasibility of hard law approaches. Moving beyond the usual suspects, we map 98 existing standards that regulate corporations and find a great variation in how different sectors treat human rights and accountability issues. Turning to the explanation of the current jungle of global business and human rights regulation, we contrast and test dominant and competing expressive theories with a consequentialist commitment curve, in which corporations and states seek to minimize human rights commitments. We find support for all approaches to regulatory reform, but argue that greater attention should be given to the consequentialist insights, and how political economy can be leveraged to strengthen regulatory outcomes.

Suggested Citation

Kirkebø, Tori and Langford, Malcolm, The Commitment Curve: Global Regulation of Business and Human Rights (September 11, 2018). Journal of Business and Human Rights, Vol. 3. No. 2, pp. 157-185, 2018, University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2018-27, PluriCourts Research Paper No. 18-03, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3248174 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3248174

Tori Kirkebø

Pluricourts ( email )

P.O. Box 6706
St. Olavs plass 5
0130 Oslo
Norway

Malcolm Langford (Contact Author)

University of Oslo, Faculty of Law, Department of Public and International Law ( email )

P.O. Box 6706 St. Olavs plass
N-0130 Oslo
Norway

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