A Theory Of Insidious Regionalism
This paper presents an interpretation of rising regionalism in world trade as a coordination failure, based on (i) sector-specific sunk costs in production, and (ii) "friction" in trade negotiation. Given these elements, if a regional trade bloc is expected to form, private agents will make investments that will make bloc member countries more specialized toward each other, but bloc and nonbloc countries mutually less specialized. This diminishes the ex post demand for multilateral free trade. Thus, the expected supply of regionalism generates its own demand, creating a Pareto-inferior equilibrium. © 2001 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Volume (Year): 117 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
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