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Bilateral investment treaties do work: Until they don't

Author

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  • Aisbett, Emma
  • Busse, Matthias
  • Nunnenkamp, Peter

Abstract

The recent boom of investor-state disputes filed under international investment agreements has fueled a controversial academic and policy debate. Despite its importance, there has been very little work to date on the impacts of compensation claims by investors on FDI flows to the responding host country. We study this question using a comprehensive dataset of FDI flows, compensation claims and bilateral investment treaty (BIT) participation. We allow for differential impacts of compensation claims against a host on inward FDI flows from BIT-partner and non-partner countries. Focusing on these differences allows us both to shed new light on how investment treaties might influence investor behavior, as well as allowing us to control for unobserved changes in the host-country investment climate. We find that BITs stimulate bilateral FDI flows from partner countries - but only so long as the host country has not had a claim brought against it to arbitration. When a host faces a claim, FDI from sources with a BIT in place falls significantly more than that from unprotected sources. Furthermore, after the host has faced a claim, the entry into force of new BITs is no longer associated with increased FDI flows.

Suggested Citation

  • Aisbett, Emma & Busse, Matthias & Nunnenkamp, Peter, 2016. "Bilateral investment treaties do work: Until they don't," Kiel Working Papers 2021, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:2021
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Neumayer, Eric & Spess, Laura, 2005. "Do bilateral investment treaties increase foreign direct investment to developing countries?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1567-1585, October.
    2. Emma Aisbett & Larry Karp & Carol Mcausland, 2010. "Police Powers, Regulatory Takings and the Efficient Compensation of Domestic and Foreign Investors," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(274), pages 367-383, September.
    3. Aisbett, Emma, 2007. "Bilateral Investment Treaties and Foreign Direct Investment: Correlation versus Causation," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt72m4m1r0, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    4. Aisbett Emma & Karp Larry & McAusland Carol, 2010. "Compensation for Indirect Expropriation in International Investment Agreements: Implications of National Treatment and Rights to Invest," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-35, December.
    5. Allee, Todd & Peinhardt, Clint, 2011. "Contingent Credibility: The Impact of Investment Treaty Violations on Foreign Direct Investment," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(03), pages 401-432, July.
    6. Jennifer Tobin & Susan Rose-Ackerman, 2011. "When BITs have some bite: The political-economic environment for bilateral investment treaties," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 1-32, March.
    7. Miceli, Thomas J & Segerson, Kathleen, 1994. "Regulatory Takings: When Should Compensation Be Paid?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 749-776, June.
    8. Axel Berger & Matthias Busse & Peter Nunnenkamp & Martin Roy, 2013. "Do trade and investment agreements lead to more FDI? Accounting for key provisions inside the black box," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 247-275, June.
    9. Peter Egger & Valeria Merlo, 2012. "BITs Bite: An Anatomy of the Impact of Bilateral Investment Treaties on Multinational Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1240-1266, December.
    10. Berger, Axel & Busse, Matthias & Nunnenkamp, Peter & Roy, Martin, 2011. "More stringent BITs, less ambiguous effects on FDI? Not a bit!," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(3), pages 270-272, September.
    11. Lauge N. Skovgaard Poulsen & Emma Aisbett, 2011. "When the Claim Hits: Bilateral Investment Treaties and Bounded Rational Learning," Crawford School Research Papers 1105, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    12. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Donaubauer, Julian & Neumayer, Eric & Nunnenkamp, Peter, 2017. "Winning or losing in investor-to-state dispute resolution: The role of arbitrator bias and experience," Kiel Working Papers 2074, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bilateral investment treaties; investor-state dispute settlement; compensation claims; protected and unprotected investors;

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations

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