Race-to-the-Bottom or -Top at Home or Abroad: Health and Safety Standards and the Multinational Firm
We develop a model to illustrate potential complexities in the relationship between corporate geographical diversification and the health and safety (H&S) standards set in national jurisdictions. A firm, that initially has a plant in its home country, may choose to also have one or two foreign plants in order to improve its bargaining position versus local governments, and so ensure reduced H&S standards, i.e. a race-to-the-bottom. However, contrary to the main focus of the popular debate on this topic, we note the potential for the race-to-the-bottom tendency to be exerted on H&S standards in the multinational company’s home rather than host country, and also for an upward push on H&S to instead result.
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