Dissertation Defense: Na-Kyung Lee

Candidate Name: Na-Kyung Lee

Major: Government

Advisor: Erik Voeten, Ph.D.

Title: Three Essays on Investment Treaties and Investor-State Arbitration

My dissertation project  advances our understanding of how multinational corporations (MNCs) interact with bilateral investment treaties (BITs) at all stages: the signing of BITs, arbitration in the wake of expropriation, and responses to the decisions of arbitral tribunals. In Part I, I study MNC utilization of BIT-based investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions. While the literature has treated MNCs as global agents unconstrained by national boundaries, I show that MNC incentives continue to be shaped by the home nation’s regulatory and political environment. I argue that investors from countries with strong state-business ties are less likely to experience expropriation and use formal arbitration to resolve disputes when they invest in host states that have strong political ties with their home state. In Part II, I examine MNCs’ reaction to the news of arbitration filings against the host country, with a focus on a host characteristic that has been overlooked: a country’s overall foreign policy ideology. I show that host country foreign policy ideology – whether it has internalized liberal foreign policy ideas – conditions how investors interpret the news of arbitration filings that are commonly perceived as a violation of BITs. In Part III, I study the interaction of domestic capital controls and investment treaties in attracting foreign investment. I find that BITs work as complements for capital inflow openness and as substitutes for capital outflow openness. BITs are most successful in attracting FDI inflows in countries with a policy of open capital inflows and closed capital outflows.

Monday, April 16, 2018 at 1:30pm to 3:30pm

Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Intercultural Center
37th and O St., N.W., Washington

Event Type

Academic Events, Dissertation Defense


Georgetown College, Government, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences



Open to the public and the press?


Event Contact Name

Paula Evans

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