A Domino Theory of Regionalism
Regional liberalization sweeps the globe like wildfire while multilateral trade talks proceed at a glacial pace. Why are countries eager to liberalize regionally but reluctant to do so multilaterally? The answer of the GATT-is-dead school is that multilateralism is too cumbersome for contemporary trade issues. This paper proposes a very different answer. Recent regionalism is caused by two idiosyncratic events multiplied by a domino effect. The triggering events the US-Mexico FTA and the European Community's 1992 programme had nothing to do with GATT's health. The domino effect is simple. Political equilibria, which balance anti- and pro-membership forces, determine governments' stances on regional liberalization. Domestic exporters to regional blocs are a powerful pro-membership constituency. An event that triggers closer integration within an existing bloc reduces the profits of non-member exporters, inducing them to boost their pro-membership political activity. The extra activity alters the political equilibrium, leading some countries to join. This enlargement further harms non-member exporters since they now face a disadvantage in a greater number of markets. This second-round effect brings forth more pro-membership political activity and a further enlargement of the bloc. The new political equilibrium is marked by larger regional trading blocs. In the meantime regionalism appears to spread like wildfire.
|Date of creation:||Nov 1993|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
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.:
- Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994.
"Protection for Sale,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-50, September.
- Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 162, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
- Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1992. "Protection For Sale," NBER Working Papers 4149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 21-92, Tel Aviv.
- Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977.
"Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
- Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Krugman, Paul, 1991.
"Increasing Returns and Economic Geography,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
- Mayer, Wolfgang, 1984. "Endogenous Tariff Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 970-85, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:857. 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: ()The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct address
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.