Research Output

Regulatory Arbitrage in Relation to International Human Rights

  The adoption of the United Nations (UN) Charter in 1945 marked the legalization of international human rights. Despite the legalized status of human rights, their violation by states is not uncommon. This article questions why a state might violate international human rights. Analyzing this issue from an economic perspective, this article advances regulatory arbitrage theory to rationalize a state’s violation of human rights. It discusses regulatory arbitrage-type behaviours among state actors that derogate from the obligations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. Defending state sovereignty, minimizing regulatory or compliance costs, and prioritizing economic achievement are identified as rational arbitrage actions that circumvent international human rights. We call for competent and credible governance mechanisms that can increase the cost of arbitrage to disincentivize state violation of international human rights.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    12 September 2019

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    J Political Science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    320 Political science

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Minhat, M., Abdullah, M., & Dzolkarnaini, N. (2019). Regulatory Arbitrage in Relation to International Human Rights. Journal of Human Rights, 18(5), 579-596.



international human rights; regulatory arbitrage; violation; state sovereignty

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