Robert Hudec and the Theory of International Economic Law: The Law of Global Space

57 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2008

See all articles by David M. Trubek

David M. Trubek

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: June 12, 2008


Robert Hudec's work on trade law not only helped create and guide the field; it also made a contribution to the general theory of law in a globalized world economy. While Hudec's contribution to trade law is well known and fully documented in this volume and elsewhere, there has been less attention the broader relevance of his work. In his struggle to understand trade law in action, he worked out a framework of analysis that has implications for many areas of international law and can be used to illuminate a wide variety of issues. In this chapter we outline some general principles about the role of law in the world economy, show how Hudec anticipated them in his work on trade, and demonstrate how these principles can help us deal with contemporary issues in international economic law. We show that Hudec's general analysis can still be used to deal with current issues in the area of trade and development, in the operation of Councils and Committees in the WTO and their potential for opening more policy space for developing countries, and even for understanding the role of law in the European Union.

Keywords: Trade law, Globalized world economy, International law, WTO, World Trade Organization

JEL Classification: F02, F10, F13, F14, F15, K33

Suggested Citation

Trubek, David M., Robert Hudec and the Theory of International Economic Law: The Law of Global Space (June 12, 2008). Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) Inagural Conference 2008 Paper. Available at SSRN: or

David M. Trubek (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States

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