Investment Treaties and National Governance in India: Rearrangements, Empowerment, and Discipline
Forthcoming in 34 (2021) Leiden Journal of International Law 2
57 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2021 Last revised: 19 Feb 2021
Date Written: October 30, 2020
This paper presents selected findings on India relating to the effects of international investment agreements (IIAs) on national governance. Our research used ethnography-inspired methods to explore the often-voiced hypothesis that IIAs induce good governance reforms in their state parties. Our findings demonstrate that the good governance hypothesis is too sweeping and lacks subtlety, but they also bring forward new conceptualizations of the impact of the international investment regime on national governance. Our research shows that governance actors use IIAs selectively in order to advance various agendas and interests. The Indian case study shows that rather than acting like a monolith when reacting to the experience of IIAs, the state is instead a site of struggle between different actors with different motivations, agendas and interests. In such context, IIAs produce various formal-institutional as well as ideological-discursive effects that have not been captured by the existing literature. First, IIAs lead to the simultaneous practices of internalization through external adjustment and internalization through accommodation. At the same time, these modes of internalization lead to rearrangements by internalization within the public administration. Second, governance actors resort to various narratives about IIAs, which we present in this paper. Importantly, the deployments of various narratives about IIAs are context-dependent and are used by governance actors tactically as convenient tools in internal political struggles within the public administration. These findings have important consequences for the design and reform of international investment regulation, should such regulation have ambition, as it does, to promote good governance.
Keywords: International Investment Law, Good Governance, Socio-Legal Studies, India
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