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Regionalism versus Multilateralism

  • Winters, L. Alan

This paper examines the theoretical arguments and historical evidence about whether regionalism undermines the multilateral trading system. It first considers how to define multilateralism and then surveys over 60 recent contributions to the literature. It classifies theoretical models by four criteria: their assumed objective functions (national welfare versus pressure group interests); symmetric versus asymmetric models; one-off versus repeated games; and how they determine post-integration policies. It finds significant theoretical arguments and historical evidence on both sides of the debate. Very tentative conclusions include that regionalism may: help to liberalize very restrictive trade regimes; increase the vulnerability of less restrictive ones to break down; and be more likely to be harmful if governments are subject to sector-specific lobbying forces.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1525.

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Date of creation: Nov 1996
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1525
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  1. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 21-92, Tel Aviv.
  2. Bagwell, K. & Staiger, R.W., 1994. "Multilateral Tariff Cooperation During the Formation of Regional Free Trade Areas," Working papers 9403, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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  4. André Sapir & Alexis Jacquemin, 1988. "European integration or world integration?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8242, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  11. Richardson, Martin, 1993. "Endogenous protection and trade diversion," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3-4), pages 309-324, May.
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  13. Campa, Jose Manuel & Sorenson, Timothy L, 1996. " Are Trade Blocs Conducive to Free Trade?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(2), pages 263-73, June.
  14. Junichi Goto & Koichi Hamada, 1995. "EU, NAFTA, and Asian Responses: A Perspective from the Calculus of Participation," NBER Working Papers 5325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Frankel, Jeffrey & Stein, Ernesto & Wei, Shang-jin, 1995. "Trading blocs and the Americas: The natural, the unnatural, and the super-natural," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-95, June.
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  19. Jackson, J.H., 1991. "The European Community and World Trade: The Commercial Policy Dimension," Working Papers 298, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  20. Antonio Spilimbergo & Ernesto H. Stein, 1996. "The Welfare Implications of Trading Blocs among Countries with Different Endowments," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6860, Inter-American Development Bank.
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  27. Helpman, E., 1995. "Politics and Trade Policy," Papers 30-95, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
  28. John Kennan & Raymond Riezman, 2013. "Optimal Tariff Equilibria with Customs Unions," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: International Trade Agreements and Political Economy, chapter 5, pages 53-66 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  29. Kemp, Murray C. & Wan, Henry Jr., 1976. "An elementary proposition concerning the formation of customs unions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 95-97, February.
  30. Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Regionalism and the world trading system," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 295-301.
  31. Richardson, Martin, 1995. "Tariff revenue competition in a free trade area," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 1429-1437, August.
  32. Konstantine Gatsios & Larry Karp, 1991. "Delegation Games in Customs Unions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 391-397.
  33. Bond, E.W. & Syropoulos, C., 1993. "Trading Blocs and the Sustainability of Inte-regional Cooperation," Papers 5-93-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  34. Ethier, Wilfred, 1996. "Regionalism in a multilateral world," Discussion Papers, Series II 314, University of Konstanz, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 178 "Internationalization of the Economy".
  35. Winters, L. Alan, 1994. "The EC and protection: The political economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 596-603, April.
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  38. Widgren, Mika, 1995. " Probabilistic Voting Power in the EU Council: The Cases of Trade Policy and Social Regulation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(2), pages 345-56, June.
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  40. Sinclair, P. & Vines, D., 1995. "Bigger Trade Blocs Need Not Entail More Protection," Discussion Papers 95-32, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  41. Gatsios, Konstantine & Karp, Larry, 1995. "Delegation in a general equilibrium model of customs unions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 319-333, February.
  42. repec:idb:wpaper:323 is not listed on IDEAS
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