International investment law and domestic human rights

How taking from foreigners affects domestic human rights

BSG-WP-2015-004

Amid the heated negotiations surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), this article raises fundamental questions about the ability of investment law to protect the rights of citizens in signatory nations. A 30-year analysis highlights that while international investment law has been effective at protecting investment from government theft, it has left citizens unprotected. Expropriations can create short-term windfall profits for a government, but they may also damage the public good because they can chase away welfare-enhancing investors and create revenue for government repression.

The authors of this working paper, including BSG postdoctoral research fellow Noel Johnston, suggest that any major reconsideration of international investment policies must also consider how it affects people on the ground. The paper is particularly relevant for international lawyers, policymakers involved in trade and investment matters and the private sector. Scholars in law, political science, economics, and business may also find this a useful source of reflection.