Behavioural International Trade Law

25 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2016 Last revised: 27 Jun 2016

Date Written: June 23, 2016


This article proposes to recast a big part of international trade law as behavioural regulation. The Sanitary and Phytosanitary and Technical Barriers to Trade Agreements of the World Trade Organisation include provisions on disclosure of better information, on legal default rules and on debiasing through law that are similar to the ones proposed in the Behavioural Law and Economics literature to nudge governments towards specific directions. This happens even in the absence of a (centralised) social planner. The article further aims to use behavioural trade regulation to draw some general lessons for Behavioural Law and Economics; most importantly, to show that nudging may have a libertarian rather than a paternalistic result. Finally, the paper proposes that behavioural regulation should be complemented by learning facilities to debias government institutions and lead to social and institutional learning.

Keywords: Behavioural Law and Economics; behavioural regulation; cognitive bi-as; default rule; debiasing; international nudge; international trade law; learning; SPS Agreement; TBT Agreement; Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM)

Suggested Citation

Dimitropoulos, Georgios, Behavioural International Trade Law (June 23, 2016). Society of International Economic Law (SIEL), Fifth Biennial Global Conference, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: or

Georgios Dimitropoulos (Contact Author)

Hamad Bin Khalifa University ( email )

P.O. Box: 5825
Education City

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