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World Politics

Vol. 65, No. 2

April 2013

When the Claim Hits: BIlateral Investment Treaties and Bounded Rational Learning
By Lauge N. Skovgaard Poulsen and Emma Aisbett 

Using the international investment regime as its point of departure, the article applies notions of bounded rationality to the study of economic diplomacy. Through a multimethod approach, it shows that developing countries often ignored the risks of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) until they themselves became subject to an investment treaty claim. Thus the behavior of developing country governments with regard to the international investment regime is consistent with that routinely observed for individuals in experiments and field studies: they tend to ignore high-impact, low-probability risks if they cannot bring specific “vivid” instances to mind.

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