Patrick Keenan is Associate Professor of Law and Corman Family Scholar at the University of Illinois College of Law. He is also the founder and director of the College of Law's International Human Rights Clinic.
Professor Keenan's scholarship explores the relationships between human rights, globalization, and international law. His recent publications have appeared in the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, the Berkeley Journal of International Law, the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, and the Iowa Law Review.
As director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic, Professor Keenan has collaborated with a number of local and national human rights organizations across Africa.
Before he became a law professor, Professor Keenan spent five years litigating death penalty cases in Georgia and Alabama as an attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights.
Professor Keenan received his B.A. magna cum laude from Tufts University, and his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Journal of International Law. While in law school, he also studied at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. After law school, he served as law clerk for Judge Myron H. Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama. Before entering law school, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
note: all links to the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) unless otherwise noted.
The Human Rights Potential of Sovereign Wealth Funds
Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 08-27, Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 132. (with Christiana Ochoa)
In April, 2008, World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, called for sovereign wealth funds to invest one percent of their capital in Africa. The result will be the International Finance Corporation's Sovereign Funds Initiative and is an attempt to nurture the potential of sovereign wealth funds to contribute to economic development and improved well-being in a number of countries in Africa and elsewhere. This article explores the actual potential of the Sovereign Funds Initiative to realize its desired goals. After exploring and demonstrating the disappointing effects of natural resource wealth, development aid and foreign direct investment on some developing countries, the article proposes that the "one percent" should be used to fund a venture capital and micro/mezo-finance initiative targeted directly to entrepreneurs in partner countries. The paper proposes a Multilateral Sovereign Investment Agency to oversee this endeavor.
Financial Globalization and Human Rights
Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 46 (2008)
In this Article, I develop a model of the enforcement of human rights that attempts to account for financial globalization. I advance two principal arguments. First, I argue that, in practical terms, the traditional approach to protecting human rights, documenting violations of human rights to embarrass states into changing their ways, is becoming much less likely to succeed. This reputational approach, often referred to as naming and shaming, has long been the primary mechanism of enforcing human rights norms. Shaming was sometimes accompanied by a form of economic shunning, with countries who violated human rights norms finding it more difficult to find trading partners in the developed world. The rapid economic growth that is characteristic of globalization, particularly in China and India, has altered this dynamic. Increased competition for the raw materials necessary to sustain economic growth has rendered it more difficult to ignore resource-rich states, even if they are regular violators of human rights. Many states no longer face a powerful incentive to maintain a good reputation for compliance with human rights norms. Second, I argue that as the reputations of states have become less critical, the reputations of corporations have become more important. Two relatively new features of financial globalization have changed the picture and created incentives for firms to act as the watchdogs of other firms. The market for capital is now global. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that firms everywhere are competing for the same investors. Similarly, it is no exaggeration to say that firms from around the world are selling their products in the same markets. Thus, as capital and consumer markets have become more integrated, firms now face powerful incentives to police the human rights conduct of their rivals.
Curse or Cure? China, Africa, and the Effects of Unconditioned Wealth
Berkley Journal of International Law (BJIL), Forthcoming
This article addresses a fundamental question: how is the behavior of states affected by the manner in which they receive financial support? Most policymakers who debate the best ways to improve the lives of people living in the developing world agree that infusions of wealth in one form or another will improve the lives of people in poor countries. Some argue that this wealth should come in the form of aid from wealthy governments, while others argue that market mechanisms are the best approach. Both sides in this debate have devoted too little attention to a critical factor: How are the human rights practices of governments affected by the conditions associated with wealth? China's recent interest in Africa provides a sort of natural experiment in which to consider again the relationship between wealth, the conditions associated with wealth, and state behavior. Economists have long noted an association between economies dominated by sales of natural resources, such as oil or diamonds, and a range of ills, including weak economic development, corruption, and violations of human rights. Similarly, most infusions of foreign aid have had little positive effect on recipient states. This Article draws on scholarship from economics, political science, and human rights to show that China's investments in Africa run the risk of reducing the welfare of local people instead of improving their lives. This Article makes two principal contributions to the literature. First, I show that the conditions associated with wealth determine whether it has a positive or negative effect on the recipient. Some conditions are explicit and aimed at advancing the donor's strategic interests. Much of the aid that flowed from the U.S. during the Cold War was of this type. Other conditions are what I call market conditions, and in this category I include the kind of business climate a government enforces and the kind of social and human rights environment it fosters. Without the right mix of conditions, infusions of wealth can encourage governments to consolidate access to the wealth; centralize decision making regarding the distribution of rents; consume resources too quickly; and ignore the concerns of citizens. The second contribution this Article makes is to show that China's recent investments in Africa amount to unconditioned wealth, and raise a real risk that their effect on local populations will, in the end, be negative. I show that Beijing's investments can have the effect of relieving recipient states of the market pressures that can discipline host governments and reduce the temptation to engage in ill-advised investments, abuse of the local population, or a variety of other socially negative behaviors.
The New Deterrence: Crime and Policy in the Age of Globalization
Iowa Law Review, Vol. 91, p. 505 (2006)
Crime has historically been a local phenomenon. Most murder victims know their killers; most victims of child abuse know their abusers; victims of theft often need not look beyond their own neighborhoods for the thieves. Crime is regulated locally. In the United States, it is the states, not the federal government, that prosecute the vast majority of criminal cases. Globalization is changing this in ways that have yet to be fully explored. Although crime as an event will always have a substantial local component because it is typically responded to by officials and victims in the place it occurs, it is becoming much more of a transnational phenomenon. It is increasingly common for activity that is regulated in one country because it is dangerous or unwanted to become more common in other countries where the activity is equally (or almost equally) unwanted but much less effectively regulated. What happens when activity that is unwanted in two places is more effectively regulated in one place than in the other? Does the unwanted activity migrate from the first state to the second? How much of it migrates, and what factors influence the amount of displacement? How should we conceive of regulation in these circumstances - as a local response to a local problem or as part of a broader effort to reduce the overall incidence of the unwanted activity? These questions are fundamental to determining what globalization will mean in the new century, but so far have not been fully explored. The existing scholarship on deterrence will be of limited use in a globalized context.
This article is the first attempt to fill the gap by developing a richer approach to deterrence for a globalized world. I draw insights from both law-and-economics and criminology literature to enrich our understanding of deterrence. To ground my theoretical discussion in a real-world problem, throughout the article I use sex tourism as an example of the kind of unwanted activity that now crosses borders and has complicated our understanding of deterrence. I focus on two issues central to deterrence in a globalized world that have not gotten sufficient scholarly attention: the phenomenon of displacement and the role of status. I add three important considerations. First, I argue that informal sanctions, as opposed to formal, legal sanctions, are increasingly important and must be part of any effective deterrence policy. Second, I argue that substitution - when activity migrates from one location to another because of changes in enforcement policy in the first place - is a complicated process that can be manipulated to enhance deterrence. Finally, I argue that when unwanted behavior involves people from different countries, we must consider the role of status in deterrence. Differences in status can distort the social processes of judgment and disapproval that allow communities to control unwanted behavior without recourse to law. These are vitally important issues. Because globalized crime is so widely dispersed, it will be almost impossible for the local communities affected to get together and develop a coordinated plan. If we are to prevent law enforcement successes in the West from turning into social disasters for those in the developing world, we must bring theory into step with the ways that globalization has changed the reality of crime.
Do Norms Still Matter? The Corrosive Effects of Globalization on the Vitality of Norms
Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Forthcoming
Why does the process of globalization undermine the power of social norms to regulate behavior? Norms are the social regularities that shape individual behavior and help to create vibrant, or dysfunctional, communities. Most theories of norms do not account for the many ways that globalization affects the foundations of norms. This article fills the gap by developing a more robust theory of the informal regulation of behavior that considers the ways that the process of globalization can interfere with the creation of norms and erode their power. I defend three primary claims. First, I argue that because individuals in a globalizing community typically suffer from significant disruptions in relationships, the community's ability to regulate itself is eroded. In vibrant communities, residents are willing to intervene in the lives of their neighbors by, for example, scolding children who misbehave in public or teenagers who deface buildings. But in a globalizing community, the conditions that give rise to this willingness to intervene are eroded by the process of globalization. Second, I argue that globalization can distort the process of creating and enforcing social norms by allowing individuals to, in effect, immunize themselves from the sanctions typically employed to enforce norms. For example, differences in social status affect the ways that observers judge illicit behavior, and the ways that they condemn, condone, or ignore that behavior. Third, I argue that globalization also makes it possible for individuals to engage in what I call reputational segmentation. In this process, people who wish to engage in an activity that carries social sanctions do so in a place where they are immune to the real effects of those sanctions. For example, a Western tourist who travels to the developing world to engage in illicit sexual activity, often with children, may suffer social sanctions in the destination community, but those sanctions do not follow him back to his country of origin. And because the quality of the person's life is affected almost entirely by his reputation in his country of origin, the ability to engage in reputational segmentation allows him to escape the consequences of his actions.