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Law-guided discourses: Corporate responsibility

The project investigates the role of businesses in social cohesion. The legal system can encourage companies to engage in a discourse about their social responsibility. Means to this end can be duties to disclose or explain corporate practices, but also civil and criminal liability or government oversight. Conversely, the law can also open up space for the pursuit of private gain that remains exempt from accountability. The project empirically investigates the course and modalities of legally induced discourse, focusing on managerial liability, corporate social responsibility reporting, the representation of women on supervisory boards, and the role of investor confidence in capital markets. Researchers in this project use a wide range of empirical methods to study these topics.

One focus of the project is to shed light on elements of corporate and capital market law. Key phenomena in these fields are themselves important determinants of social cohesion, such as trust and legitimacy. They are juxtaposed to and contrasted with other paradigms of regulation such as efficiency, complete information and decision-making autonomy. With this alternative view, the project is at the same time pluralistic-interdisciplinary and seeks to interpret important areas of business law from a new perspective. 

The project also examines the conflict that arises between liability in the understanding of "social responsibility" and private indemnification. These issues are examined in more detail in the context of D&O insurance, managerial liability and ESG ratings.

Researchers: Andreas Engert, Stefan Grundmann, Gregory Jackson, Anja Kirsch, Philipp A. Thompson