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Are the Contents of International Treaties Copy-Pasted? Evidence from Preferential Trade Agreements

woensdag 20 maart 2019
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP Den Haag


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About the lecture

Most accounts of international negotiations suggest that global agreements are
individually crafted and distinct, while some emerging scholarship suggests a heavy
reliance on models and templates.
In this research, Prof. Elsig presents a comprehensive test of whether new international treaties are heavily copy-pasted from past ones.
He specifies several reasons to expect widespread copy-pasting and argues that both the most and least powerful countries should be most likely to do so. Using text analysis to examine several  hundred preferential trade agreements (PTAs), he reveals that most PTAs copy a sizeable majority of their content word-for-word from an earlier agreement.

A copy of the paper will be shared with registered participants.

About the speaker

Manfred Elsig is Professor of International Relations, Deputy Managing Director and Director of Research of the World Trade Institute of the University of Bern. From 2013-2017 he was the Director of the NCCR Trade Regulation. He studied at the universities of Bern and Bordeaux and earned a degree in political science. He worked from 1997 to 1999 at the Swiss Federal Office for Foreign Economic Affairs. He later joined the Political Science Institute at the University of Zurich and received his Ph.D. (Dr. Phil) in 2002 with a dissertation on European Union trade policy. From 2002 to 2004 he worked for UBS financial services group and as a personal advisor to the Minister of Economy of Canton Z├╝rich. In 2004-2005 he was a teaching fellow at the International Relations Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science. From 2005 to 2009 he worked as a post-doc fellow at the World Trade Institute and at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. From 2009 to 2013 he was an Assistant Professor at the World Trade Institute.

About the seminars

The Diplomacy and Global Affairs (DGA) Research Seminar is a series launched by the Research Group on Diplomacy and Global Affairs at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs. The seminars of internationally acknowledged guest researchers and faculty members deal with current research topics in diplomacy, international relations, global affairs, and political economy broadly conceived and target a broad audience through their interdisciplinary focus.


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