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Dynamics and Politics in Regional Integration Arrangements: An Introduction

Maurice Schiff and L. Alan Winters
The World Bank Economic Review
Vol. 12, No. 2 (May, 1998), pp. 177-195
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3990088
Page Count: 19
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Dynamics and Politics in Regional Integration Arrangements: An Introduction
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Abstract

Overwhelming evidence links openness and economic growth. In recent years many developing countries have attempted to liberalize their trade and investment regimes, mostly through autonomous unilateral liberalization. At the same time, a growing number of governments have begun to explore and participate in regional trading agreements. The agreements grant reciprocal trade preferences to participating countries, resulting in discrimination against nonmembers. The causes and consequences of regional integration have given rise to an extensive and vigorous debate among both scholars and policymakers. However, the quality of this debate has been seriously hampered by the absence of clear analytical models and empirical evidence on many of the factors under discussion. Few of the recent arguments in favor of regional integration arrangements have been satisfactorily formalized or tested. To address some of these issues, a World Bank research program focuses on new and developing country aspects of regionalism. The program explores lacunae in the traditional static analysis of regional integration arrangements; addresses the dynamic effects of integration, the economics of deep integration, and the politics and political economy of regional integration arrangements; and compares regionalism with multilateralism. The articles in this symposium address the topics of dynamics, politics, and political economy in regional integration agreements.

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