Societal Benefits and Costs of International Investment Agreements: A critical review of aspects and available empirical evidence

By Joachim Pohl, Published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), January 2018

This paper reviews alleged societal benefits and costs of international investment agreements (IIAs). It sets out the wide range of issues that diverse actors have proposed in the context of assessing the societal benefits and costs of IIAs. The paper analyzes and organizes the available material generated by these sources to identify and classify the many different issues, summarizes available empirical evidence and findings in these sources on the individual aspects, and assesses strengths and weaknesses of the approaches. It focuses in particular on the investor protection component of IIAs. The inventory finds that, for many claims about the positive or negative impacts of IIAs, little robust evidence has been generated to date. Available at