Big Profits, Big Harm? Exploring the Link between Firm-Performance and Human Rights Abuses

61 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2022

See all articles by Elisa Giuliani

Elisa Giuliani

University of Pisa

Federica Nieri

University of Pisa

Andrea Vezzulli

University of Insubria - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 11, 2021

Abstract

We examine the relationship between the performance of companies relative to their global industry peers and their abuse of human rights. We exploit a unique database covering 245 large publicly listed companies from eight of the principal and most economically dynamic developing countries. We find that the more firms over-perform relative to their industry peers, the more they are likely to engage in abusive behaviours. However, this observed positive linear relationship becomes negative in the presence of high host country regulatory pressure. We find also that the proclivity for top over-performing firms to abuse human rights applies only to companies with no or limited prior commitment to addressing human rights issues as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies.

Keywords: Business and human rights, high-performance, institutions, corporate social responsibility (CSR), developing countries

JEL Classification: F23; M14

Suggested Citation

Giuliani, Elisa and Nieri, Federica and Vezzulli, Andrea, Big Profits, Big Harm? Exploring the Link between Firm-Performance and Human Rights Abuses (December 11, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3982986 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3982986

Elisa Giuliani (Contact Author)

University of Pisa ( email )

Lungarno Pacinotti, 43
Pisa PI, 56126
Italy

Federica Nieri

University of Pisa ( email )

Lungarno Pacinotti, 43
Pisa PI, 56126
Italy

Andrea Vezzulli

University of Insubria - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Monte Generoso 71
Varese, Varese - Italy 21 100
Italy

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