Academic Year 2009-2010
Beth Simmons is Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University. She received her PhD. from Harvard University in the Department of Government. She has taught international relations, international law, and international political economy at Duke University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Harvard. Her book, Who Adjusts? Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policy During the Interwar Years, 1924-1939, was recognized by the American Political Science Association in 1995 as the best book published in 1994 in government, politics, or international relations. She has worked at the International Monetary Fund with the support of a Council on Foreign Relations Fellowship (1995-1996), spent a year as a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (1996-1997), and a year in residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. She currently serves as Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard, and has recently finished a book entitled Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics (forthcoming 2009, Cambridge University Press) which shows that ratification of human rights treaties has had an appreciable positive influence on human rights practices in many countries around the world.
Investor-State Treaty Regimes and Arbitral Processes
I will be working on two major research projects while at the Straus Institute. The first looks at the development of the law, processes, and institutions that have developed over the last two decades relating to the international arbitration of investment disputes between foreign multinational firms and host governments. This project will look at the patterns of citations, the sources of law, and the backgrounds of litigants, counsel, and arbitrators to develop a clearer picture than what is now currently available on the increasingly common use of international arbitration to settle investment disputes. One of my goals in this project is to assess the extent to which international arbitration is perceived as effective and legitimate by the "litigating"' parties as well as the broader communities of investors and citizens they represent.
I am also launching a new project on international cooperation to address transnational crime. This is a theoretical and empirical investigation into the actual geography of cooperation that has developed among various state agents (police, investigators, prosecutors, state ministries) to prosecute alleged international/transnational criminal actors and to suppress their activities. The working hypothesis is that international anti-crime cooperation requires a high degree of trust between cooperative agents. Trust itself may be related to legal or cultural differences between countries, but may also be facilitated by repeat but fairly low visibility transactions.