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Sovereign Financing and International LawThe UNCTAD Principles on Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing$
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Carlos Espósito, Yuefen Li, and Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674374

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199674374.001.0001

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On the Comparative Foundations of Principles in International Law

On the Comparative Foundations of Principles in International Law

The Move towards Rules and Transparency in Fiscal Policy as Examples

(p.113) 6 On the Comparative Foundations of Principles in International Law
Sovereign Financing and International Law

Matthias Goldmann

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that principles in international law have their basis in comparative and analogical reasoning. It provides a taxonomy of principles ranging from general principles of law to soft legal principles and structural principles which are devoid of normative significance. The classification of principles in international law depends on the extent to which they find confirmation in domestic and/or international law and to which their extrapolation to the international level might be suitable. In this regard, international soft law codifications like the UNCTAD Principles on Promoting Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing might corroborate the formation of principles in international law. The chapter analyzes this process by using two examples from the field of fiscal policy: Substantive fiscal policy rules on debt or deficit ceilings; and rules on fiscal transparency. In both respects, the UNCTAD Principles strengthen important trends in domestic fiscal policy and fosters the emergence of an array of principles of varying legal character.

Keywords:   General principles of law, Soft law, Fiscal transparency, Fiscal policy rules, debt ceilings

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