Handbook of the International Political Economy of the Corporation
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of the Corporation

Edited by Andreas Nölke and Christian May

Over the past few decades, corporations have been neglected in studies of international political economy (IPE). Seeking to demystify them, what they are, how they behave and their goals and constraints, this Handbook introduces the corporation as a unit of analysis for students of IPE. Providing critical discussion of their global and domestic power, and highlighting the ways in which corporations interact with each other and with their socio-political environment, this Handbook presents a thorough and up-to-date overview of the main debates around the role of corporations in the global political economy.
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Chapter 20: The international regime for investment: a history of failed multilateralism

Tarald Laudal Berge and Helge Hveem

Abstract

In this chapter, the authors discuss two interrelated questions: (1) Why is there no multilateral agreement on investment? (2) Do we need a multilateral investment agreement? They begin with a broad examination of the historical roots of investment protection, and revisit hallmark efforts at reaching a multilateral accord. They then elaborate upon the decentralized regime that has been instituted instead, with a focus on bilateral investment treaties and investment treaty arbitration. Next, they consider three sets of explanations for why the formal efforts at reaching a multilateral agreement have failed: an ideational account, political explanations, and various technical explanations. They also discuss why some actually view the decentralized treaty-based regime as a multilateral system in and of itself. They end by reviewing the recent legitimacy crisis surrounding the investment regime, and debate whether regionalism may be an expedient alternative to formal multilateralism in future global investment protection.

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