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Legalization as Strategy: The Asia-Pacific Case


  • Kahler, Miles


The Asia-Pacific region offers an example of low legalization of regional institutions and perhaps an explicit aversion to legalization. An examination of three key regional institutions—ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), and the ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum)—confirms a regional process of institution building without legalization. Recent developments in these institutions permit some discrimination among competing explanations for low legalization. On the one hand, ASEAN has embraced a legalized dispute-settlement mechanism; Asian governments have also employed legalized global institutions. On the other hand, the ARF and APEC continue to resist clear-cut legal obligations and third-party dispute resolution. This pattern suggests that legalization is best viewed as driven by the demands of economic integration and as a strategic response by governments in particular institutional settings. These explanations undermine alternatives based on domestic legal culture and uniformly high sovereignty costs. The Asian economic crisis has reopened a debate over regional institutions, which may fix on legalization as part of a new regional institutional design.

Suggested Citation

  • Kahler, Miles, 2000. "Legalization as Strategy: The Asia-Pacific Case," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 549-571, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:54:y:2000:i:03:p:549-571_44

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Higgott, 2012. "The Utility and Limits of the ‘European Model’ for the Regional Institutionalization of East Asia," Chapters,in: Asian Responses to the Global Financial Crisis, chapter 15 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Rana, Arslan Tariq & Kebewar, Mazen, 2014. "The Political Economy of FDI flows into Developing Countries: Does the depth of International Trade Agreements Matter?," EconStor Preprints 91501, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    3. repec:bla:asiaps:v:4:y:2017:i:2:p:195-206 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Parsons, Craig & Richardson, J. David, 2004. "Lessons for Asia?: European experiences--in American perspective--in legitimizing market integration," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 885-907, January.
    5. Todd Allee & Manfred Elsig, 2016. "Why do some international institutions contain strong dispute settlement provisions? New evidence from preferential trade agreements," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 89-120, March.
    6. repec:wsi:serxxx:v:62:y:2017:i:03:n:s0217590818400088 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. John Ravenhill, 2012. "The Numbers Game in Asia-Pacific Cooperation," Chapters,in: The Asia-Pacific, Regionalism and the Global System, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Lee Jones, 2010. "Still in the “Drivers’ Seat†, But for How Long? ASEAN’s Capacity for Leadership in East-Asian International Relations," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 29(3), pages 95-113.
    9. Todd Allee & Manfred Elsig, 2016. "Why do some international institutions contain strong dispute settlement provisions? New evidence from preferential trade agreements," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 89-120, March.
    10. Laurence Henry, 2007. "Trade and Economic Arrangements Between India and South Asia in the Context of Regional Construction and Globalisation," Working Papers id:1055, eSocialSciences.
    11. Saori N. Katada, 2010. "Political Economy of East Asian Regional Integration and Cooperation," Working Papers id:3059, eSocialSciences.
    12. Peter B. Kenen & Ellen E. Meade, 2006. "Monetary integration in East Asia," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.

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