Level Playing Field as an Emerging Norm in International Economic Law

Auteur Marios TOKAS
Directeur /trice Prof. Joost Pauwelyn (Professor of International Law)
Co-directeur(s) /trice(s) Prof. Damien Neven (Professor of International Economics)
Résumé de la thèse

Entering the third decade of the 21st century, the international economic system has entered its post-Washington Consensus stage where the fundamental assumptions of the system established in the 1990s (e.g., market deregulation and elimination of barriers to trade and investment) are being regularly challenged, revisited and reconsidered. Amidst this process, the concept of ‘level playing field’ (“LPF”) is gradually becoming more prominent in international discourse, especially in Europe. The originally sport-associated term suggests that international economic relations cannot be conducted fairly when there is no equality in the set of economic, labour and environmental rules that govern market actors.

However, the precise content of LPF remains vague; so far, no universal understanding exists on what constitutes LPF, and how it can be achieved, while at the same time no systematic analysis has been made to examine its interaction with international economic law rules and norms. Still, many recently adopted or proposed initiatives in international, national, or regional agendas have been using LPF as their ‘legitimizing banner’. The aim is to provide clarity to LPF as an emerging international economic law norm through a legal and economic lens by identifying its features and then its applicability and ‘fit’ within international (economic) law norms.

The dissertation seeks to introduce a comprehensive mapping exercise and an extensive economic analysis of LPF. Further, the analysis of the interaction of International Economic Law (“IEL”) and LPF entails a renewed interpretative glimpse in IEL norms as well as reform proposals. First, it seeks to map and analyze the measures and initiatives associated with LPF by categorizing them. Second, it examines the influences of the concept, such as sports and theories of fairness. Third, it examines LPF as an economic concept, by assessing its proclaimed effects in light of traditional and modern trade theories. Fourth, it examines the impact of LPF on international trade and investment norms.

Statut au milieu
Délai administratif de soutenance de thèse 2025