A New Multi-Dimensional Framework for Analyzing Regional Integration: Regional Integration Evaluation (RIE) Methodology
Theories of regional integration typically analyze the regional integration process from the perspective of a single discipline, usually economics. However, such one-dimensional analytical frameworks cannot fully capture the richness and complexity of the inherently multi-dimensional regional integration process. To address the problem, we propose the regional integration evaluation (RIE) methodology which is based on four dimensions of development – economic, political, social and technological. The central idea behind the RIE methodology is that regional development promotes regional integration. Our RIE methodology differs from the existing literature in that it is based on a more comprehensive definition of development than just economic development. Our definition of a region's development incorporates the development levels of all regional countries as well as differences in development levels among regional countries. We apply the RIE methodology to assess the regional development and hence integration prospects of NAFTA, ASEAN, MERCOSUR and EU.
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