Even the most repressive regimes in the world manage to attract investment from foreign companies. The French oil company Total has been much criticized for its involvement in oil extraction in Burma. The operations of British American Tobacco in North Korea have received less attention, as the company has shied from publicly announcing its presence there. For Norwegian companies in the oil sector, the question of human rights violations is a constant challenge, in countries such as Iran, Azerbaijan, and Nigeria.

This study asks when a corporation should exit a country where human rights violations take place. We explore this question from two points of view. The first point of view is prescriptive, in asking when it is in the interest of a corporation to exit a country where the government is repressive. The second point of view is normative, and asks when ethical considerations imply that a company should close down operations in a country.

Project staff: Ivar Kolstad (project leader) and Tina Søreide