Dissertation Defense: Na-Kyung Lee
Candidate Name: Na-Kyung Lee
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 at 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Intercultural Center
37th and O St., N.W., Washington