Project

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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

Publications

Publication
Who Writes the Rulings of the World Trade Organization? A Critical Assessment of the Role of the Secretariat in WTO Dispute Settlement
Pauwelyn Joost, Pelc Krzysztof (2019), Who Writes the Rulings of the World Trade Organization? A Critical Assessment of the Role of the Secretariat in WTO Dispute Settlement, in SSRN Electronic Journal, 1.
Busier than Ever? A Data-Driven Assessment and Forecast of WTO Caseload
Pauwelyn Joost, Zhang Weiwei (2018), Busier than Ever? A Data-Driven Assessment and Forecast of WTO Caseload, in Journal of International Economic Law, 21(3), 461-487.
Text of Trade Agreements (ToTA)-A Structured Corpus for the Text-as-Data Analysis of Preferential Trade AgreementsText of Trade Agreements
Alschner Wolfgang, Seiermann Julia, Skougarevskiy Dmitriy (2018), Text of Trade Agreements (ToTA)-A Structured Corpus for the Text-as-Data Analysis of Preferential Trade AgreementsText of Trade Agreements, in Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 15(3), 648-666.
Locked in language: historical sociology and the path dependency of investment treaty design
AlschnerWolfgang (2018), Locked in language: historical sociology and the path dependency of investment treaty design, in Hirsch Moshe, Lang Andrew (ed.), Edward Elgar Publishing, Massachusetts, 456.
The Data-Driven Future of International Economic Law
Alschner Wolfgang, Pauwelyn Joost, Puig Sergio (2017), The Data-Driven Future of International Economic Law, in Journal of International Economic Law, 20(2), 217-231.
Text-as-Data Analysis of Preferential Trade Agreements: Mapping the PTA Landscape
Alschner Wolfgang, Seiermann Julia, Skougarevskiy Dmitriy (2017), Text-as-Data Analysis of Preferential Trade Agreements: Mapping the PTA Landscape, in SSRN Electronic Journal, 1.
Mapping the Universe of International Investment Agreements
Alschner Wolfgang, Skougarevskiy Dmitriy (2016), Mapping the Universe of International Investment Agreements, in Journal of International Economic Law, 19(3), 561-588.
The New Gold Standard? Empirically Situating the TPP in the Investment Treaty Universe
Alschner Wolfgang (2016), The New Gold Standard? Empirically Situating the TPP in the Investment Treaty Universe, in SSRN Electronic Journal, 17, 339-373.
Can Robots Write Treaties? Using Recurrent Neural Networks to Draft International Investment Agreements
Alschner Wolfgang, Skougarevskiy Dmitriy (2016), Can Robots Write Treaties? Using Recurrent Neural Networks to Draft International Investment Agreements, in SSRN Electronic Journal, 1.
Convergence and Divergence in the Investment Treaty Universe - Scoping the Potential for Multilateral Consolidation
AlschnerWolfgang (2016), Convergence and Divergence in the Investment Treaty Universe - Scoping the Potential for Multilateral Consolidation, in Trade, Law & Development, 8(2), 152-183.
Rule-Takers or Rule-Makers? A New Look at African Bilateral Investment Treaty Practice
Alschner Wolfgang (2016), Rule-Takers or Rule-Makers? A New Look at African Bilateral Investment Treaty Practice, in SSRN Electronic Journal, 4, 1-23.
The Impact of Investment Arbitration on Investment Treaty Design: Myth Versus Reality
Alschner Wolfgang (2016), The Impact of Investment Arbitration on Investment Treaty Design: Myth Versus Reality, in SSRN Electronic Journal, 42(1), 66.
Towards an Integrated Database of International Economic Law (IDIEL) Disputes for Text-as-Data Analysis
AlschnerWolfgang, UmovAleksander (2016), Towards an Integrated Database of International Economic Law (IDIEL) Disputes for Text-as-Data Analysis, The Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, Geneva.
Ensuring Correctness or Promoting Consistency? Tracking Policy Priorities in Investment Arbitration through Large-Scale Citation Analysis
AlschnerWolfgang, Ensuring Correctness or Promoting Consistency? Tracking Policy Priorities in Investment Arbitration through Large-Scale Citation Analysis, in Fauchald Ole Kristian, Langford Malcolm, Behn Daniel (ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1.

Datasets

ToTA: Texts of Trade Agreements

Author Alschner, Wolfgang
Persistent Identifier (PID) https://github.com/mappingtreaties/tota
Repository GitHub


Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
UNCTAD Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
PluriCourt, University of Oslo Norway (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
University of Arizona United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Ottowa Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
World Trade Institute Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
The PluriCourts-iCourts Concepts and Methods Workshop 2020 Talk given at a conference Letting External Norms in: How Do Courts Behave When Reviewing Environmental Norms? 24.11.2020 Oslo, Norway Punyakumpol Chanya;
PATHS PANEL IV Talk given at a conference Letting External Norms in: How Do Courts Behave When Reviewing Environmental Norms? 12.11.2020 Geneva, Switzerland Punyakumpol Chanya;
Seminar series on International Economic Law and Policy Individual talk Who Writes the Rulings of the World Trade Organization? A Critical Assessment of the Role of the Secretariat in WTO Dispute Settlement 13.01.2020 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Pauwelyn Joost;
The Geneva International Economic Law Sessions Individual talk The Use of Precedent as a Driver of Change: An Empirical Look and the Interplay between Tribunals and States. 11.12.2019 Geneva, Switzerland Punyakumpol Chanya;
The WTO Public Forum Talk given at a conference Rules Behind the Headlines: Using Data to Navigate the Unseen Landscape of International Economic Law 27.09.2017 Geneva, Switzerland Pauwelyn Joost;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
EconLawData: Let the Data Speak for Itself 27.09.2017 Geneva, Switzerland
Workshop: Convergence versus Divergence? Text-as-data and Network Analysis of International Economic Law Treaties and Tribunals 01.05.2016 Geneva, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Computational and Empirical International Law Speaker Series Session 2: Toward a New Generation of International Law Databases 20.11.2020 Geneva, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Computational and Empirical International Law Speaker Series (CEILSS) International 2020
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Big data conquers legal analysis International 2017

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
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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