Contact information

Before commencing PhD studies at Stockholm University, Ian worked for three years as an environmental, social and governance research analyst in Boston, Massachusetts. Ian is one of the few social scientists in Sweden actively working on business and human rights research, and he has guest lectured on the subject for the prestigious Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics at Washington and Lee University during study tours in Sweden. He has also lectured on US politics for Utrikespolitiska Föreningen i Uppsala and at Kungsholmens Gymnasium. Ian regularly provides commentary and analysis on United States politics and foreign policy in the Swedish and international media, including appearances on SVT, TV4, BBC Radio, and Sveriges Radio, and in Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri, and TT. He also writes regular policy briefings and does public affairs and policy consulting on a freelance basis.

Ian holds a BA International Affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University and an MSc Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Research Interests

Ian’s PhD dissertation is concerned with the motivations for national governments to become “early adopters” of global public policy innovations with a particular focus on business and human rights. In this dissertation, Ian proposes a new theoretical framework for studying early adoption. The dissertation includes a global mapping of National Action Plans for business and human rights and mandatory human rights due diligence laws, as well as comparative case studies of six countries. Ian has done fieldwork in Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, France and the United States and regularly participates in the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights.

Ian also has research interests in the wider fields of international political economy and international security studies, as well as United States politics. He is currently working on a manuscript for an article on US security policy in Syria. Ian is affiliated with the Stockholm University Graduate School of International Studies (SIS) and is funded by the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Security Technologies and Societal Values, a Nordforsk research project.


Peer-reviewed research articles

Susan Ariel Aaronson & Ian Higham (2013) “Re-righting Business: John Ruggie and the Struggle to Develop International Human Rights Standards for Transnational Firms”, Human Rights Quarterly, 35:2, pp. 333-364.

Chapters in edited volumes

Ian Higham (2019) “UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” in Odd Einar Falnes Olsen, Kirsten Voigt Juhl, Preben H. Lindøe, & Ole Andreas Engen (eds.) Standardization and Risk Governance: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach, London: Routledge

Susan Ariel Aaronson & Ian Higham (2015) “Putting the Blame on Governments: Why Firms and Governments Have Failed to Advance the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” in David Karp and Kurt Mills, Eds., Human Rights Protection in Global Politics, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Opinion pieces

"Better safe than sorry"Policy Innovations, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, 2011 [with Susan Ariel Aaronson].