The New Kids on the Block: Sustainable Development in the IIAs of Emerging Economies

40 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2020

Date Written: February 2020


How do states incorporate sustainable development into their international investment policy? The scarce research that exists on this topic has exclusively focused on the traditionally dominant (i.e., Western) states, while more recently emerging economic players have been left unexamined. This paper argues that this oversight is problematic in that the academic literature has found substantial policy differences in how the two types of countries approach other forms of international interactions, such as the protection of human rights abroad. It follows that we may be missing an essential piece of the full global investment regime puzzle, whereby the ‘new kids on the block’ mentioned above are more likely to pursue development policies in their bilateral agreements. The present investigation takes the first step in mapping out the distinct patterns across country types in this regard by extending a valuable existing dataset on IIA development analysis to include 99 new agreements. Overall, the results show strong support for the proposed theoretical framework and suggest that the ‘new kids on the block’ will be the pioneers of tomorrow’s sustainable development movement vis-à-vis international investment agreements.

Keywords: International investment agreements (IIAs), realism, ideational theories, sustainable development, right to regulate, free transfer, fair and equitable treatment, investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS), IIA content mapping

Suggested Citation

Hayes Meizoso, Beatriz, The New Kids on the Block: Sustainable Development in the IIAs of Emerging Economies (February 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Beatriz Hayes Meizoso (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ
United States

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