IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Commerce and institutions: Trade, scope, and the design of regional economic organizations

  • Yoram Haftel


Registered author(s):

    The design of current regional economic organizations (REOs) is remarkably diverse. Some REOs address numerous economic issues, while others have only limited mandates. Some REOs have an independent bureaucracy and a legalized dispute settlement mechanism (DSM), while others do not. What determines this institutional variation? Thinking about these institutions as devices that generate credible commitment to a rule-based regional cooperation, institutionalists maintain that the intensity of commercial ties determine regional institutionalization and institutional independence. A number of studies question this logic and argue that it is “naïve.” Empirical evidence on the links between commerce, economic scope, and regional institutions is scant, however. Using an original data set that contains detailed information on the economic activities and institutional structure of twenty-eight REOs over three decades, this paper presents one of the first systematic analyses of these relationships. The empirical analysis indicates that the institutionalist wisdom is right after all. It shows that higher levels of regional trade are associated with greater institutionalization and economic scope, but only if implementation of signed agreements is accounted for, and that regional commerce and greater economic scope are associated with more independent bureaucracies and more legalized DSMs. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Springer in its journal The Review of International Organizations.

    Volume (Year): 8 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 389-414

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:spr:revint:v:8:y:2013:i:3:p:389-414
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Mansfield, Edward D. & Pevehouse, Jon C., 2000. "Trade Blocs, Trade Flows, and International Conflict," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(04), pages 775-808, September.
    2. Mansfield, Edward D. & Milner, Helen V., 1999. "The New Wave of Regionalism," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(03), pages 589-627, June.
    3. Pevehouse, Jon & Russett, Bruce, 2006. "Democratic International Governmental Organizations Promote Peace," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(04), pages 969-1000, October.
    4. Scott L. Baier & Jeffrey H. Bergstrand, 2005. "Do free trade agreements actually increase members’ international trade?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2005-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    5. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W., 2009. "The WTO: Theory and practice," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2009-11, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    6. Koremenos, Barbara & Lipson, Charles & Snidal, Duncan, 2001. "The Rational Design of International Institutions," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(04), pages 761-799, September.
    7. Simmons, Beth A. & Danner, Allison, 2010. "Credible Commitments and the International Criminal Court," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(02), pages 225-256, April.
    8. AfDB AfDB, . "African Development Report 2000," African Development Report, African Development Bank, number 17 edited by Adeleke Oluwole Salami, 11.
    9. Haftel, Yoram Z., 2007. "Designing for Peace: Regional Integration Arrangements, Institutional Variation, and Militarized Interstate Disputes," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(01), pages 217-237, January.
    10. Mansfield, Edward D. & Milner, Helen V. & Rosendorff, B. Peter, 2002. "Why Democracies Cooperate More: Electoral Control and International Trade Agreements," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 477-513, June.
    11. Goldstein, Judith, 1996. "International law and domestic institutions: reconciling North American “unfair” trade laws," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(04), pages 541-564, September.
    12. Kahler, Miles, 2000. "Conclusion: The Causes and Consequences of Legalization," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 661-683, June.
    13. Smith, James McCall, 2000. "The Politics of Dispute Settlement Design: Explaining Legalism in Regional Trade Pacts," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(01), pages 137-180, December.
    14. Abbott, Kenneth W. & Snidal, Duncan, 2000. "Hard and Soft Law in International Governance," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 421-456, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:revint:v:8:y:2013:i:3:p:389-414. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)

    or (Christopher F Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.