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Regional Integration And Trade Diversion In Europe


  • Kokko, Ari

    () (European Institute of Japanese Studies)

  • Mathä, Thomas

    () (Central Bank of Luxembourg)

  • Gustavsson Tingvall, Patrik

    () (European Institute of Japanese Studies)


This paper re-examines the relation between regional integration and trade by using the framework suggested by Yeats [1998] to analyze the effects of European integration. We identify the industries that experienced the largest increases in regional trade orientation during three phases of European integration, and examine the simultaneous changes in revealed comparative advantages. Our main conclusion is that there are signs of trade diversion for the earliest phase of European integration (1962-1973), when intra-regional trade increased in industries with weak comparative advantages, but not for later time periods. The main reason is that regional integration has coincided with reductions in external trade barriers, improving market access also for outsiders. At the same time, integration has promoted economic growth and import demand, which has been beneficial for outside producers. We also argue that the static concept of trade diversion is not well suited for analyzing modern integration, which aims to raise the comparative advantage of regional producers by promoting scale economies and competition. If successful, it will reduce the market shares of outsiders, but it does not constitute trade diversion: more efficient outsiders are not replaced by less efficient insiders.

Suggested Citation

  • Kokko, Ari & Mathä, Thomas & Gustavsson Tingvall, Patrik, 2006. "Regional Integration And Trade Diversion In Europe," EIJS Working Paper Series 231, Stockholm School of Economics, The European Institute of Japanese Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:eijswp:0231

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Diao, Xinshen & Somwaru, Agapi, 2000. "An Inquiry on General Equilibrium Effects of MERCOSUR--An Intertemporal World Model," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 557-588, September.
    2. Tamim Bayoumi & Barry Eichengreen, 1997. "Is Regionalism Simply a Diversion? Evidence from the Evolution of the EC and EFTA," NBER Chapters,in: Regionalism versus Multilateral Trade Arrangements, NBER-EASE Volume 6, pages 141-168 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 2003. "Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Trade-Policy Options for the United States and Japan," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(6), pages 803-828, June.
    4. Aitken, Norman D, 1973. "The Effect of the EEC and EFTA on European Trade: A Temporal Cross-Section Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(5), pages 881-892, December.
    5. Forslid, Rikard & Haaland, Jan I. & Midelfart Knarvik, Karen Helene, 2002. "A U-shaped Europe?: A simulation study of industrial location," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 273-297, August.
    6. Glenn W. Harrison & Thomas F. Rutherford & Tarr,David, 2003. "Rules of thumb for evaluating preferential trading arrangements : evidence from computable general equilibrium assessments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3149, The World Bank.
    8. Baltagi, Badi H. & Wu, Ping X., 1999. "Unequally Spaced Panel Data Regressions With Ar(1) Disturbances," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(06), pages 814-823, December.
    9. Carrere, Celine, 2006. "Revisiting the effects of regional trade agreements on trade flows with proper specification of the gravity model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 223-247, February.
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    More about this item


    European integration; trade creation and diversion;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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