Krzysztof J. Pelc

I am William Dawson Scholar and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University. I obtained my PhD from Georgetown University, and spent my postdoc at Princeton's Niehaus Center. 

In Fall 2016 I will be a visiting professor at NYU's Department of Politics, and in Winter 2017 I will be a Fellow at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute for Advanced Study (JNIAS), in New Delhi.

My research examines the international political economy, with a focus on international rules. I am interested in how the design of rules affects odds of cooperation, and how some rules may benefit some countries over others. This has led me to write about participation in institutions, privacy and publicity, the effects of (il)legitimacy on political outcomes, optimal ambiguity, the impact of hard times on cooperation, precedent in international public law, and the circumstances under which actors are allowed to break formal rules. Much of this research looks specifically at the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). More recently, I have also been writing about investor-state disputes in the international investment regime.

My 2016 book, "Making and Bending International Rules: The Design of Exceptions and Escape Clauses in Trade Law" (Cambridge Press), brings together some of the main points of this research agenda. The book addresses the means by which the designers of rules address unexpected events: how can we attain the benefits of legal flexibility, whereby countries are allowed to temporarily break the rules when faced with hard times, while curbing its abuse?

Contact me at 


 Pelc, Krzysztof. "What Explains the Low Success Rate of Investor-State Disputes?" International Organization. Forthcoming

• Kucik, Jeffrey and Krzysztof Pelc. 2016. "Do International Rulings Have Spillover Effects? The View from Financial Markets". World Politics68(4): 713-751.

• Johns, Leslie and Krzysztof Pelc. “Fear of Crowds in WTO Disputes: Why Don't More Countries Participate?Journal of Politics. Forthcoming. 

• Kucik, Jeffrey and Krzysztof Pelc. "Measuring the Cost of Privacy: A Look at the Distributional Effects of Private Bargaining". British Journal of Political Science. Forthcoming

• Chaudoin, Stephen, Jeffrey Kucik and Krzysztof Pelc. "Do WTO Disputes Actually Increase Trade?" International Studies Quarterly. Forthcoming.

• Davis, Christina and Krzysztof Pelc. “Cooperation in Hard Times: Self-Restraint of Trade Protection”. Journal of Conflict Resolution. Forthcoming

• Kucik, Jeffrey and Krzysztof Pelc. 2016. "Over-Commitment and Backsliding in International Trade". European Journal of Political Research. 55(2): 391–415.

• Pelc, Krzysztof and Johannes Urpelainen. 2015. When Do International Economic Agreements Allow Countries to Pay to Breach?". Review of International Organizations10(2):231-264 

 Pelc, Krzysztof. 2014. “The Politics of Precedent in International Law: A Social Network Application”. American Political Science Review 108(3): 547-564.

• Johns, Leslie and Krzysztof Pelc. 2014. “Who Gets to Be in the Room? Manipulating Participation in WTO Disputes.”  International Organization 68(3): 663-699. 

• Busch, Marc and Krzysztof Pelc. 2014. "Law, Politics, and the True Cost of Protectionism: The Choice of Trade Remedies or Binding Overhang." World Trade Review 13(1):39-64. 

• Pelc, Krzysztof. 2013. "Googling the WTO: What Search Engine Data Tell Us About the Political Economy of Institutions" International Organization, 67(3): 629-655.

• Pelc, Krzysztof. 2013. “The Cost of Wiggle-Room: Considering the Welfare Effects of Flexibility in Tariff Rates at the WTO”International Studies Quarterly, 57: 91-102.

• Pelc, Krzysztof. 2011. “Why do Some Countries Get Better WTO Accession Terms than Others?” International Organization 65(4): 639-672.

• Pelc, Krzysztof. 2011. “How States Ration Flexibility: Tariffs, Remedies, and Exchange Rates as Policy Substitutes”. World Politics 63(4): 618-646.

• Pelc, Krzysztof. 2010. “Why Do We Not See More Efficient Breach at the WTO?”, 2010. World Trade Review 9(4): 629-642.  
(Winner, 2009 Cambridge Univ. Press Prize for International Economic Law)

• Pelc, Krzysztof. 2010. “Constraining Coercion? Legitimacy and Its Role in U.S. Trade Policy, 1975-2000”. International Organization 64(1): 65-96.

• Busch, Marc and Krzysztof Pelc. 2010. “The Politics of Judicial Economy at the World Trade Organization”. International Organization 64(2): 257-279.

• Pelc, Andrzej and Krzysztof Pelc. 2009. “Same Game, New Tricks: Recognizing Good Strategies in the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma”Journal of Conflict Resolution 53(5): 774-793.

• Busch, Marc and Krzysztof Pelc. 2009. “Does the WTO Need a Permanent Body of Panelists? Journal of International Economic Law 12(3): 579-594.

• Pelc, Krzysztof. 2009. “Seeking Escape: Escape Clauses in International Trade Agreements”. International Studies Quarterly 53 (2): 349-368.

Book Chapters

• Pelc, Krzysztof. Forthcoming. “The Welfare Implications of Precedent in International Law", in Establishing International Authority in International Law, edited by Joanna Jemielniak, Laura Nielsen and Henrik Palmer Olsen. Cambridge University Press.

• Pelc, Krzysztof. Forthcoming. “What Would EH Carr Say? How International Institutions Address Political Change", in Accommodating Rising Powers, edited by T.V. Paul. Cambridge University Press.

• Busch, Marc and Krzysztof Pelc. 2015. “Dispute Settlement in the WTO", in The Oxford Handbook of the Political Economy of International Trade, edited by Lisa Martin. Oxford University Press.

• Busch, Marc and Krzysztof Pelc. 2011. “Ruling Not to Rule: The Use of Judicial Economy at the WTO”. in: The Politics of International Economic Law, edited by Broude et al. Cambridge University Press.

Working Papers

• "Words Matter: How International Courts Handle Political Controversy". (with Marc Busch). Presented at: IO Judicialization of IR Workshop, Northwestern University. 

 “Free-Riding on Enforcement in the WTO” (with Leslie Johns). Under Review. 

• “Who Holds Influence Over WTO Jurisprudence?” (with Mark Daku). Working paper. Presented at APSA 2015.


          Read the Introductory Chapter of Making and Bending International Rules.

Popular Press

"Le libre-échange, la plus ancienne des technologies pertubatrices". Magazine Nouveau Projet, Hiver 2016.  

"What Our Dollars Fuel". New Rambler Review

"La France a raison de s’opposer", Le Devoir. 6 juillet 2015.

Data Pages

Readily accessible WTO data including product codes for all disputed products, trade volumes, legal claims, and third party participation:

The WTO's Words: A Structured Archive of the WTO's Rulings:

This directory contains all the WTO's rulings in machine readable format. They are arranged in a structured directory, by 

Document type > 
    Dispute number > 
        Panel / AB stage > 
            Country role (complainant, respondent, third party) > 

Send me any queries or corrections, and if you use this archive, please cite: 
Daku, Mark and Krzysztof J. Pelc. 2016. Who Holds Influence Over WTO Jurisprudence? Working paper.