The Data-Driven Future of International Economic Law

Forthcoming, 20 Journal of International Economic Law (2017:2, 217-231) as Introduction to Special Issue on New Frontiers In Empirical Legal Research: Text-As-Data And Network Analysis Of International Economic Law

16 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2017  

Wolfgang Alschner

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Joost Pauwelyn

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID); Georgetown University Law Centre

Sergio Puig

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Date Written: April 6, 2017

Abstract

The availability of more data and new ways of analyzing it is changing the way we do empirical legal research. With the help of modern technology we can study adjudicators, awards and agreements in greater numbers, less time and more detail opening the doors for new research questions, theory building and legal technology applications for scholars and practitioners. This introduction to the Journal of International Economic Law Special Issue on new frontiers in empirical legal research provides a first take on this data-driven future. It distinguishes data-driven research from more traditional methods by pointing to (1) its “data first” attitude, (2) its ambition to look at all the available data rather than subsamples thereof and (3) and its focus on computing rather than reading or counting. Data-driven research comes with new promises, but also challenges and limitations. While it allows researchers to uncover latent structures, debunk past myths and even forecast the future, it also requires new skills and competencies including an ability to tell patterns from noise in inductive data analysis. We argue that the time is ripe to overcome these challenges and to seize the opportunities of the new data-driven frontier in empirical legal scholarship.

Keywords: empirical legal scholarship, big data, international economic law, BIT, WTO, free trade agreements

Suggested Citation

Alschner, Wolfgang and Pauwelyn , Joost and Puig, Sergio, The Data-Driven Future of International Economic Law (April 6, 2017). Forthcoming, 20 Journal of International Economic Law (2017:2, 217-231) as Introduction to Special Issue on New Frontiers In Empirical Legal Research: Text-As-Data And Network Analysis Of International Economic Law . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3008585

Wolfgang Alschner

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

Joost Pauwelyn (Contact Author)

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) ( email )

PO Box 136
Geneva, Geneva CH-1211
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://graduateinstitute.ch

Georgetown University Law Centre ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Sergio Puig

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

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