Delayed ratification: The domestic fate of bilateral investment treaties

Yoram Z. Haftel, Alexander Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Some treaties are signed and then ratified quickly while others languish in legal limbo, unratified by one or more parties. What explains this variation in the time between signature and ratification? The international relations literature has not taken the ratification stage seriously enough, despite its obvious importance from a legal and a political perspective. We offer a systematic study of this question in the context of bilateral investment treaties. We develop and test a set of theoretical propositions related to domestic-level constraints on the executive, the varying ability of governments to rationally anticipate ratification obstacles, and the bilateral relationship between treaty partners. We generally find support for these propositions but report some surprising findings as well. The article presents implications for investment agreements and treaty making more generally, and raises a number of issues for further study at the intersection of international politics and law.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)355-387
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Organization
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


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