The Impact of International Investment Agreements on Governance

This project led by Professors Zachary Douglas and Shalini Randeria aims to explore what effects international investment agreements (IIAs) actually have on the ground, what kinds of governmental decision-making they legitimate, what policies they facilitate or constrain, and in what ways they are able to, or are perceived to, do so in four selected countries. Whereas existing research in the field has focussed mainly on understanding investors' perception, this project reverses the approach to explore what perceptions IIAs create in domestic decision-makers. The project uses the extended case method used in social anthropology to answer the research questions. This involves extended and repeated interveiews with the main actors in the field, discourse analysis of the main primary sources such as governmental memoranda, legislative documents, official press releases, as well as analysis of the media discourses and narratives about investment treaties in the four selected countries.

The research team has gathered the primary data from 2014 to 2017. After the extended period of analyzing the wealth of data gathered, the current and final phase of the project consists of writing up of an edited volume to be published in late 2018.

The Project TeamIIAGovernance Project CIDS

Projects coordinators:


Project's engagements 

During the research period, the project was presented in the following events:

  • Workshop for governmental officials from the four selected countries, (Graduate Institute, September 2015): the workshop had the purpose of collecting the experience of the different countries with international investment agreements and arbitration.
  • Workshop for the Faculty of the International Law Department of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, (Graduate Institute, December 2015): Professor Zachary Douglas presented the research design and methodology of the project.
  • Deconstructing the Debates on Investment Treaty Arbitration, Lecure by Professor Zachary Douglas, (Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna, December 2015).
  • Workshop on International Investment Treaties and National Governance (National University of Singapore, November 2017): Dr Josef Ostřanský and Dr Facundo Pérez Aznar presented the paper entitled "Investment Treaties and National Governance in India: The Challenges of Internalising the Experience of the First investment Treaty Arbitrations".
  • Workshop on Neglected Methodologies in International Law: Empirical, Socio-Legal and Comparative (University of Leicester, January 2018): Dr Josef Ostřanský presented a paper entitled "A Case for Ethnography of International Economic Law". 

Related people