The Role of Democratic Governance and Indirect Expropriation in International Investment Treaty Violations - David CARLSON and Jeffrey ZIEGLER


David CARLSON* and Jeffrey ZIEGLER**

Democracies are thought to violate treaties less frequently than non-democracies, yet democracies violate bilateral investment treaties (BITs) just as often as non-democracies. Though democratic governments may intend to meet their international obligations, and though democratic institutions provide greater political constraints to encourage compliance, investment agreements may conflict with the goal of maintaining domestic public support. Specifically, we argue that credible elections create strong incentives for governments to side with domestic voters, and to pass legislation that violates investment agreements. The results suggest that the ability of voters to sanction leaders is an important mechanism that incentivizes governments to pass legislation that potentially violates investment treaties through indirect expropriation.

Keywords: Investment Treaties, Electoral Accountability, Indirect Expropriation, Political Economy


* Asst. Prof., Koç University, Department of International Relations
** Asst. Prof., Trinity College Dublin, Department of Political Science