The trans-pacific partnership and regulatory space: A comparison of treaty texts

Tomer Broude, Yoram Z. Haftel, Alexander Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, signed in February of 2016, is an ambitious effort to set high standards on a 'mega-regional' level. This article examines the TPP's investment provisions with a focus on their most controversial dimension: The extent to which they constrain the 'state regulatory space' (SRS) of host states. We embrace the text-as-data approach by coding the TPP and other investment agreements among TPP parties on design features related to SRS. The challenges presented by this coding exercise demonstrate some of the advantages of manual coding over automated methods when nuance and interpretation are required. With our data, we first compare the TPP to other agreements and find that it scores relatively high on SRS, although it falls within the range of existing agreements and does not seem to chart new territory in this regard. We then investigate which existing agreements are most similar to and dissimilar from the TPP with respect to SRS. Using regression analysis, we consider a number of factors to explain this variation and find that the TPP is most similar to agreements involving the USA, to agreements among Western Hemispheric countries, to other free trade agreements with investment chapters, and to more recent agreements. However, different factors seem to matter if we look only at provisions related to investor-state dispute settlement versus substantive provisions, implying that it is important to distinguish between the substantive and procedural dimensions of treaties.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)391-417
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of International Economic Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2017

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© The Author 2017.


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