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King's Business, Regulation and Society series: Complex Global Regulation and Corporate Crime - 2 February 2022

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The King's Business, Regulation and Society research group aims to bring together scholars with interest and expertise in the development of all aspects of business law, regulation and policy from a broad range of methodological approaches with the aim to understand better the relationship between business and society.

'Complex Global Regulation and Corporate Crime' - Abstract

"Global governance and corporate crime scholarship have frequently explored strategic exploitation of global regulatory gaps and loopholes by corporate actors. However, the international regulatory environment of multinational corporations is not only characterized by the absence and weakness of regulation in global markets rules, but also by multiple, overlapping and sometimes contradicting regimes."

This talk presents first steps of a research project on competition and conflict between multiple regulatory regimes as explanations for corporate crime. The theory of international regime complexes seems a promising avenue to explore the dynamics between regulatory regimes and their effects. Corporate actors operating in a regime complex may face different regulatory demands and opportunities in different regimes, even to the extent that behavior defined as criminal in one regime, is lawful in another.

This project will employ a comparative case study design to identify pathways through which international regime complexes influence corporate crimes. The Volkswagen diesel fraud case has been used as a plausibility probe to illustrate such pathways to corporate crime (Braun & Van Erp 2021).

Our tentative analysis suggests that Volkswagen’s fraud in the US cannot be seen as independent of the EU regulatory regime, which was more lenient and offered various opportunities for creative compliance. We suggest a research agenda for future in-depth analyses of the implications of parallel and conflicting regulatory regimes for corporate crime, as integrating corporate criminology and international relations theory will contribute to a better understanding of corporate behavior in globalized markets.

About the speaker

Professor Judith van Erp holds the chair ‘Regulatory Governance’ at Utrecht School of Governance at Utrecht University’s Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance. She is research director of USG, member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Dutch Board for Scientific Integrity (LOWI). Operating at the intersection of governance, law, and criminology, Judith investigates how corporate crime and harm in globalized markets can be prevented by using the strengths of open societies, connecting public enforcement with private and societal forms of control.


This seminar will feature a presentation from Professor van Erp, with an opportunity for questions at the end.

This is a virtual event. Attendees will be emailed the link to join ahead of time.

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Event details

2 February 2022