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International Investment Law and Foreign Direct Reinvestment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 October 2019

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One goal of the law is to provide a means to return disputing parties to cooperation. The prevailing expectation is that international investment law largely does not do this; rather, an aggrieved foreign investor sues the host state as a last resort and divests. I use a new database of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) arbitrations and firm-level bilateral investment to show that, in fact, claimant investors reinvest in the host state at least 31 percent of the time (between 1990 and 2015). Among investors who file for arbitration, and controlling for sector, important correlates of reinvestment include the claimant's legal strategy; the extent of the claimant's grievance and success; and the incidence of post-arbitration litigation. Despite unique aspects of its institutional design, the de facto international investment regime can help solve host state time-inconsistency problems consistent with standard expectations of law. Whether the probability of reinvestment is high enough to reinforce host state commitments to this controversial regime is an open question.

Research Note
Copyright © The IO Foundation 2019 

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