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Compensation for Indirect Expropriation in International Investment Agreements: Implications of National Treatment and Rights to Invest

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  • Emma Aisbett
  • Larry Karp
  • Carol McAusland

Abstract

International investment agreements in bilateral treaties or free trade agreements allow investors to bring compensation claims when their investments are hurt by new regulations addressing environmental or other social concerns. Compensation rules such as expropriation clauses in international treaties help solve post-investment moral hazard problems such as hold-ups, thereby helping to prevent inefficient over-regulation and encouraging foreign investment. However, when social or environmental harm is uncertain preinvestment, compensation requirements can interact with National Treatment clauses in a manner that reduces host government welfare and makes them less likely to admit investment. A police powers carve-out from the definition of compensable expropriation can be Pareto-improving and can increase the level of foreign investment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 648.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:648

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Keywords: foreign direct investment; regulatory takings; expropriation; international investment agreements; National Treatment; environment;

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  1. Aisbett, Emma & Karp, Larry & McAusland, Carol, 2008. "Police-powers, regulatory takings and the efficient compensation of domestic and foreign investors," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt5x84h5kf, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  2. Schmitz, Patrick W, 2001. "The Hold-up Problem and Incomplete Contracts: A Survey of Recent Topics in Contract Theory," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 1-17, January.
  3. Aisbett, Emma, 2007. "Bilateral investment treaties and foreign direct investment : correlation versus causation," CUDARE Working Paper Series 1032R, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
  4. Markusen, James R, 2001. "Commitment to Rules on Investment: The Developing Countries' Stake," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 287-302, May.
  5. Josh Ederington, 2001. "International Coordination of Trade and Domestic Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1580-1593, December.
  6. Levinson, Arik, 1997. "A Note on Environmental Federalism: Interpreting Some Contradictory Results," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 359-366, July.
  7. Blume, Lawrence & Rubinfeld, Daniel L & Shapiro, Perry, 1984. "The Taking of Land: When Should Compensation Be Paid?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(1), pages 71-92, February.
  8. Jennifer Tobin & Susan Rose-Ackerman, 2003. "Foreign Direct Investment and the Business Environment in Developing Countries: the Impact of Bilateral Investment Treaties," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 587, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
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