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Returns to Regionalism: An Evaluation of Non-traditional Gains from RTAs

  • Fernández, Raquel

The last decade has witnessed an explosion in the number of regional trade agreements (RTAs). There seems to be a general, if ill-defined, belief on the part of many policy-makers, and among some academics as well, that there is more to an RTA then the traditional gains from trade. This paper examines several possible benefits that RTAs may confer on their partners, including credibility, signalling, bargaining power, insurance, and coordination. It assesses the necessary conditions for each of these candidates to work; gives stylized examples of specific types of policy where it might be applicable; examines real cases where the explanation might be relevant; and discusses their overall plausibility. It concludes by examining NAFTA and the Europe Agreements viewed in this light.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1634.

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Date of creation: Apr 1997
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1634
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  1. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  2. 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".
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  4. David M. Gould, 1992. "Free trade agreements and the credibility of trade reforms," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q I, pages 17-27.
  5. Maggi, G & Rodriguez-Clare, A, 1996. "The Value of Trade Agreements in the Presence of Political Pressures," Papers 180, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  6. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1997. "Regionalism and Multilateral Tariff Cooperation," NBER Working Papers 5921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Wilfred J. Ethier, 1998. "Regionalism in a Multilateral World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1214-1245, December.
  8. Schiff, Maurice & Winters, L Alan, 1998. "Regional Integration as Diplomacy," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(2), pages 271-95, May.
  9. John Whalley, 1996. "Why Do Countries Seek Regional Trade Agreements?," NBER Working Papers 5552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Staiger, Robert W & Tabellini, Guido, 1987. "Discretionary Trade Policy and Excessive Protection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 823-37, December.
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