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Conditional effects of the spotlight: electoral institutions and the enforcement of global corporate norms

Lee, Boram ORCID: 0000-0001-8931-8135 (2024) Conditional effects of the spotlight: electoral institutions and the enforcement of global corporate norms. International Studies Quarterly, 68 (2). ISSN 0020-8833

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Identification Number: 10.1093/isq/sqae064


Under what conditions do governments discipline powerful multinational companies for breaching global corporate norms? Existing international relations theories have shown that peer monitoring and transnational advocacy are crucial strategies that shine a spotlight on norm violations. Despite the importance of those strategies, governments in the Global North have not consistently condemned their home-grown multinational companies for breaking norms related to climate or human rights in the Global South. This paper argues that the effect of such spotlighting is crucially moderated by electoral institutions, and legislators in proportional representation systems are more likely than those in majoritarian systems to push multinational companies to comply with global norms when such issues are in the spotlight. I find supporting evidence from the OECD Guidelines’ Specific Instance process and case studies. This article shows that traditional strategies to promote norm compliance, such as transnational advocacy and peer pressure, work differently in different countries, and electoral systems in the Global North can have unintended distributional consequences for norm beneficiaries.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2024 17:15
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2024 03:57

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