Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2014/9: Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries’ Industrial Clusters

Elisa Giuliani ()
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Elisa Giuliani: Department of Economics and Management, University of Pisa and CIRCLE, Lund University

Abstract: A recent preoccupation in scholarly research is the capacity of firms in developing country industrial clusters to comply with international corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and codes of conducts. This research is at an early stage and draws on several – often quite distinct - scholarly traditions. In this paper I contend that future studies in this area would benefit from more explicit examination of the connection between cluster firms and human rights defined according to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent covenants and treaties. I argue that cluster firms’ adoption of CSR policies, often imposed indiscriminately on them by global buyers, should be differentiated from firms’ actual human rights practice. Based on this distinction, I elaborate a typology of industrial clusters (“low-road”, “window-dressing” “rights-oriented”) and identify a set of factors likely to influence their practice. Against this background, I discuss an agenda for future research and elaborate on the potential methodological intricacies related to research in this area.

Keywords: Human Rights; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Industrial Clusters; Developing Countries

JEL-codes: J83; M14; R11; R58

39 pages, June 4, 2014

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