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Analyzing Conflict Mineral Policy Compliance in the Technology Industry

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Conflict minerals are those that are taken from violent, militia controlled mines in areas like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and used in technology such as laptops, cellphones, and

Conflict minerals are those that are taken from violent, militia controlled mines in areas like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and used in technology such as laptops, cellphones, and computers. They are then sold to fund bloody wars that have been raging for years. The issue of conflict minerals continue to rise as technology advances. To combat the issue, the Dodd-Frank Act was implemented in the U.S. in 2010. The act requires companies listed on the stock exchange to report information on possible conflict mineral usage. However, there is a large discrepancy in the compliance levels between many similar technology companies subject to the Dodd-Frank Act. This paper addresses the factors driving compliance through the use of a theory testing method known as pattern matching, and attempts to answer why such similar companies have such different compliance levels. The pattern matching technique looks to test the applicability of theories based on what they theorize will happen and what actually happens in a given scenario. In this instance, the theories know as general deterrence, institutional, and stakeholder theory were put to the test in order to identify the factors driving compliance levels with conflict mineral policies. Both general deterrence and stakeholder theory were able to adequately match their theorized outcomes of conflict mineral compliance with actual observed outcomes. However, general deterrence theory more adequately explained the differences in compliance levels between similar companies. This information has implications on the policy side of the issue, as it reveals a way to more effectively drive up compliance levels by increasing disincentives and penalties in accordance with general deterrence theory.

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  • 2016-05