The Sociology of International Economic Law

15 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2008

See all articles by Moshe Hirsch

Moshe Hirsch

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 27, 2008


Contemporary literature of international economic law (IEL) is considerably influenced by the rational choice paradigm and various economic theories based on this model. This may be explained primarily by the paramount role of the rational-choice model in mainstream international economic theory, which is conventionally considered by many experts the natural habitat of IEL. Consequently, IEL scholars and readers are often predisposed to perceive the abundant new information in this sphere (such as new treaty provisions or judicial decisions) through an economic lens. Sociological analysis may recast well-known dilemmas differently and generate insights regarding better legal mechanisms for coping with the modern challenges faced by IEL. These properties of sociological analysis are illustrated in this paper that addresses two challenging dilemmas in current IEL literature: the relationship between the World Trade Organization (WTO) and regional trade agreements (RTAs), and the interactions between international investment law and other branches of international law (prominently international human rights law).

Keywords: International Economic Law, Sociology, Rational Choice Paradigm, Rational Choice Model, Sociological Analysis, WTO, Regional Trade Agreements, International Investment Law, International Law Human Rights, Social Inquiry, Economic Sociology

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

Suggested Citation

Hirsch, Moshe, The Sociology of International Economic Law (June 27, 2008). Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) Inaugural Conference 2008 Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Moshe Hirsch (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

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