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Convergence versus Divergence? Text-as-data and Network Analysis of International Economic Law Treaties and Tribunals

English title Convergence versus Divergence? Text-as-data and Network Analysis of International Economic Law Treaties and Tribunals
Applicant Pauwelyn Joost
Number 162379
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département de Relations internationales et Science politique IHEID, Graduate Institute
Institution of higher education Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies - IHEID
Main discipline Legal sciences
Start/End 01.11.2015 - 28.02.2021
Approved amount 433'159.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Legal sciences
Political science

Keywords (8)

International Trade; International Law; Public International Law; Regional Trade Agreements; Investment awards; Investment agreements; Network analysis; Text as data

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
La plupart des recherches sur le droit international économique abordent les problèmes de nature “Small Data”. L’interprétation d’un traité ou l'analyse d'une sentence arbitrale nécessite surtout l’attention aux détails. Pourtant, le droit international économique doit aussi de plus en plus faire face à des problèmes de nature "Big Data". Face à une prolifération de milliers de traités bilatéraux d'investissement, des centaines d'accords de libre-échange et un corps croissant de jurisprudence rendue par les groupes spéciaux de l'OMC ou les tribunaux arbitrales d'investissement, il devient important de trouver une nouvelle façon d'organiser et d’analyser cette structure complexe et atomisée de droit international économique.
Lay summary

La plupart des recherches sur le droit international économique abordent les problèmes de nature “Small Data”. L’interprétation d’un traité ou l'analyse d'une sentence arbitrale nécessite surtout l’attention aux détails. Pourtant, le droit international économique doit aussi de plus en plus faire face à des problèmes de nature "Big Data". Face à une prolifération de milliers de traités bilatéraux d'investissement, des centaines d'accords de libre-échange et un corps croissant de jurisprudence rendue par les groupes spéciaux de l'OMC ou les tribunaux arbitrales d'investissement, il devient extrêmement important de trouver une nouvelle façon d'organiser et d’analyser cette structure complexe et atomisée de droit international économique.

Ce projet permettra de faire une nouvelle contribution à ces efforts en fournissant de solutions "Big Data" à des problèmes "Big Data". En employant des analyses avant-gardes comme le traitement du texte comme des données ou l'analyse de réseau, ce projet tente de révéler les structures jusque-là inconnues du droit international économique. En particulier, ce projet va utiliser ces outils pour étudier les caractéristiques de convergence et de divergence dans le droit de commerce international et de l'investissement par rapport à (1) l'univers des traités de libre-échange et des accords de protection des investissements et (2) le réseau des décisions juridiques. Révéler des tendances de convergence et de divergence dans ces deux domaines aidera les décideurs et les négociateurs, en particulier dans les pays en développement, à mieux comprendre les structures actuelles du droit international économique ainsi que sa nécessité de réforme.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 10.11.2017

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Most research on international economic law deals with “small data” problems. Interpreting a treaty clause or analysing an investment arbitration award requires attention to detail. Yet, international economic law also increasingly has to confront problems of a “big data” nature due to the proliferation of bilateral investment treaties (BITs), free trade agreements (FTA) and case law created by WTO panels or investment arbitrators. This project will use the tools of text as data analytics and network analysis to investigate patterns of convergence and divergence in international economic law.
Lay summary

Most research on international economic law tackles “small data” problems. Interpreting a treaty clause or analysing an investment arbitration award requires attention to detail. Yet, international economic law also increasingly has to confront problems of a “big data” nature. Faced with a proliferation of thousands of bilateral investment treaties (BITs), hundreds of free trade agreements (FTA) and an ever-growing body of case law rendered by WTO panels or investment arbitrators, it becomes exceedingly important to find new ways to organize and analyse this complex and atomized structure of international economic law. This project will make a novel contribution to these efforts by providing big data solutions to big data problems. By employing state-of-the-art text as data analytics and network analysis, the projects draws from recent advances in computer technology to reveal hitherto undiscovered structures running through international economic law. In particular, this project will use these tools to investigate patterns of convergence and divergence in international trade and investment law with respect to (1) the universe of free trade and investment protection agreements and (2) the network of investment awards and trade panel/Appellate Body reports. Revealing the structures of convergence and divergence in both areas of international law will help policy-makers and negotiators, in particular in developing countries, to better understand the current structures of international economic law and to help evaluate its need for reform.   

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 10.11.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

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168340 Environmental Treaty Design: Typology and Effectiveness 01.07.2016 Doc.Mobility

Abstract

Most research on international economic law tackles “small data” problems. Interpreting a treaty clause or analysing an investment arbitration award requires attention to detail. Yet, international economic law also increasingly has to confront problems of a “big data” nature. Faced with a proliferation of thousands of bilateral investment treaties (BITs), hundreds of free trade agreements (FTA) and an ever-growing body of case law rendered by WTO panels or investment arbitrators, it becomes exceedingly important to find new ways to organize and analyse this complex and atomized structure of international economic law.While in the past it was either prohibitively costly or simply impossible to investigate thousands of treaties or hundreds of awards, the advance of technology and, in particular, of big-data analytics provides new tools to conduct innovative and insightful legal empirical analysis with a view to revealing yet undiscovered structures running through international economic law. This project will employ state-of-the-art text as data analytics and network analysis tools to investigate patterns of convergence and divergence in two areas of international economic law, examining trade and investment: (1) the universe of free trade and investment protection agreements and (2) the network of investment awards and trade panel/Appellate Body reports. Both areas are characterized by a fundamental tension that make the application of big data analytics particularly suitable. On the one hand, the body of FTAs/BITs and the world of trade/investment awards are marked by fragmentation and atomization. Countries have concluded thousands of FTAs and BITs that diverge in language and design. Similarly, hundreds of investment awards have been rendered by independent tribunals sometimes citing and sometimes contradicting each other. In the WTO, there is an Appellate Body, but diversity remains. In dispute settlement under FTAs (if which there are few cases to date, but there could be many in the future), no appellate system exists, and the risk of fragmentation within and between FTAs and between FTAs and the WTO is manifest. On the other hand, in both areas there are increasing calls for convergence. Finding a common denominator among FTAs is a vital step towards the multilateralisation of disciplines currently only found in bilateral or regional trade agreements. Clusters or types of BITs exist, some are converging, others diverging and renewed calls for a multilateral investment treaty have been made. Similarly, consistency through the development of a jurisprudence constante has been a recurring theme in the current reform debate on investment arbitration in order to enhance investment law’s predictability for both investors and states. In the WTO as well, although there is no formal rule of precedent and prior Appellate Body reports are not legally binding, a de facto rule of precedent has emerged as a powerful centralizing force, a force that is absent not only in investment arbitration but also in dispute settlement under FTAs (of which, to date, there are very few cases).This project will make a novel contribution to these efforts by providing big data solutions to big data problems. Revealing the structures of convergence and divergence in both areas of international law using text-as-data analytics and network analysis tools will help policy-makers and negotiators, in particular in developing countries, to better understand the current structures of international economic law and to help evaluate its need for reform.
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