Government Regulation of International Corporate Social Responsibility in the US and the UK: How Domestic Institutions Shape Mandatory and Supportive Initiatives
by Jette Steen Knudsen
While most scholarship on corporate social responsibility (CSR) focuses on company-level CSR initiatives, it increasingly also examines government programs for CSR. However, research on how governments contribute to CSR has mainly focused on domestic and not international CSR challenges. This literature also does not specify whether governments shape CSR through mandatory regulation or supportive initiatives. This article adopts a process tracing approach to determine how governments regulate international CSR. It demonstrates that the legal and political systems in the liberal market economies of the UK and the US lead to different forms of public CSR regulation—notably in the areas of labor standards in apparel and tax transparency in extractives. The UK government has been more likely to support bottom-up collaborative multi-stakeholder initiatives, whereas the US government has favored top-down mandatory regulation.