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Reconsidering the Motivations of the United States’ Bilateral Investment Treaty Program

American Society of International Law Proceedings, vol. 108, pp. 373-376, 2015

University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 700

9 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2014 Last revised: 19 Apr 2015

Adam S. Chilton

University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: July 18, 2014

Abstract

Over the last thirty years, the United States has entered into nearly fifty Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs). A foundational question that has not yet been adequately explained, however, is why the U.S. has signed these agreements. Despite the fact that this question has not been empirically studied, a dominant narrative in the academic literature has emerged to answer it. The logic of that narrative is simple: the United States negotiated investment treaties to protect American capital invested abroad. This view of the United States’ BITs program should not only be unsurprising because of the content of the treaties, but also unsurprising because the same explanation has consistently been offered by scholars to explain why developed countries in general are motivated to sign investment agreements. It is my contention, however, that this investment-centric theory for why the United States would have been motivated to sign BITs does not fit the evidence.

Keywords: BITs, Investment, Treaties

Suggested Citation

Chilton, Adam S., Reconsidering the Motivations of the United States’ Bilateral Investment Treaty Program (July 18, 2014). American Society of International Law Proceedings, vol. 108, pp. 373-376, 2015; University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 700. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2467963

Adam S. Chilton (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.adamchilton.org

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