Lauge Poulsen Masterclass


Tuesday 20 March 2018  |  1:00pm - 2:30pm  |  Level 1, Melbourne School of Government  |  Walter Boas Building, Wilson Avenue  |  University of Melbourne 3010

A light lunch will be provided at 1:00pm.  Please let us know your dietary requirements upon registration

Optional readings
Chapter 1: Bounded Rationality and Economic Diplomacy

This masterclass

Modern investment treaties give private arbitrators power to determine whether governments should pay compensation to foreign investors for a wide range of sovereign acts. In recent years, particularly developing countries have incurred significant liabilities from investment treaty arbitration, which begs the question why they signed the treaties in the first place.

This lecture will introduce the results of a comprehensive analysis of developing countries' investment treaty negotiations. It shows that governments in developing countries typically overestimated the economic benefits of investment treaties and practically ignored their risks. Rooted in insights on bounded rationality from behavioural psychology and economics, the analysis highlights how policy-makers often relied on inferential shortcuts when assessing the implications of the treaties, which resulted in systematic deviations from fully rational behaviour.

About the Presenter

Lauge Poulsen is an Associate Professor in International Political Economy and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of Political Science, University College London. His research focuses on the theory and practice of economic diplomacy with a particular emphasis on foreign investment, dispute settlement, and international economic law. Poulsen's first book, Bounded Rationality and Economic Diplomacy: The Politics of Investment Treaties in Developing Countries, won the International Studies Association's award for best book in International Political Economy. His second book, The Political Economy of the Investment Treaty Regime, was published in 2017 (co-authored). In addition to his academic work, Poulsen is Academic Adviser on Trade Policy to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and has appeared before committees at the UK House of Lords, the UK House of Commons, the Danish Parliament, and the European Parliament.