PUBLISHED:July 24, 2013

Anne van Aaken

van Aaken Lecture Poster van Aaken Lecture

Wednesday, September 11
12:15 pm | Room 3037
Duke Law School

Please click here for the webcast.

Professor Anne van Aaken of the University of St. Gallen will give a talk and answer questions on the topic of “Behavioral International Law and Economics.”  This event is sponsored by the Center for International & Comparative Law.  Lunch will be served.

For more information, please contact Ali Prince.


Whereas the rational choice approach to international law has been widely accepted in legal scholarship and international relations theory, challenges to the rational choice paradigm in the law and economics scholarship concerning international law has not been systematically explored. Nevertheless, behavioral law and economics has been successfully applied to national law and is now widely accepted. Furthermore, the behavioral approach to international law may be able to bridge the gap between rational choice and constructivist theories of international relations. Professor van Aaken will explore the potential and challenges of extending the behavioural law and economics approach to international public law.

There are two challenges to this attempt: first, rational choice approaches to international law usually assume the state as a unitary actor, that is, rationality of an abstract collective entity is assumed. Is it possible to assume deviations from rationality by a collective actor, such as a state? Second, can behavioral law and economics be applied if we look at individual actors relevant in international law (those shaping the law such as international judges and arbitrators as well as diplomats or individuals holding rights under international law), breaking up the black box of states and their relationships?  Being conscious of those difficulties, Professor van Aaken will explore certain promising applications of behavioural research to international law as well as debiasing mechanisms. 


Dr. Anne van Aaken is a Professor of Law and Economics, Public International Law and European Law at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. Before that she was a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Research of Collective Goods in Bonn, Germany as well as at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany. She holds a Master in Law from the University of Munich, a PhD in Law from the University of Frankfurt/Oder, a habilitation from the University of Osnabrück, a master degree in Economics and a diploma in communication science from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and is admitted to the bar in Germany. She taught as a guest professor at several universities in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia and was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin, Germany in 2010/11. She is the Vice-President of the European Association of Law and Economics, Chair of the Programmatic Steering Board of the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law, Member of the Executive Board of the European Society of International Law and Member of the ILA Committee on Non-State Actors. Her main research areas are international law with a special focus on international economic law and its interaction with other areas of international law, (international) legal theory, (behavioural) law and economics as well as corruption and state liability. She has published widely on those topics. She has been an expert consultant for the World Bank, the OECD and UNCTAD.