Professor Alschner Key Presenter at Launch of New Database

Posted on Friday, September 29, 2017

Photo of Wolfgang Alschner and Geneva Graduate Institute partner logos

Faculty of Law, Common Law Professor Wolfgang Alschner will be part of a group of researchers who will launch a new database of annotated Preferential Trade Agreement texts at The Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday, October 4, 2017.


Professor Alschner will join Dmitriy Skougarevskiy, Lead Researcher, European University, St. Petersburg, and Julia Seiermann, Associate Economic Affairs Officer, UNCTAD in presenting the project to The Graduate Institute’s Centre for Trade and Economic Integration.


Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) are proliferating globally and are playing an increasingly important role for international economic governance. While the World Trade Organization (WTO) tracks notified agreements and researchers have begun to manually code their content, the lack of machine-readable, annotated PTA texts has been a major obstacle for conducting research on PTA design.


To remedy this problem, this project makes a digitized and annotated set of 450 PTA full texts in English, French and Spanish publicly available. The project also presents preliminary research on this new corpus showcasing how text-as-data techniques can be used to automatically map the PTA landscape. Automated content analysis can not only identify meaningful clusters amongst PTAs, but also produce more refined metrics of PTA design that are superior to existing hand-coded measures e.g. in predicting trade flows.


Preliminary research: Text-as-data analysis of preferential trade agreements: Mapping the PTA landscape


Congratulations to Professor Alschner for his work and continued involvement on this project!

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