The Organizational Architecture of the Asia–Pacific: Insights from the New Institutionalism
This paper surveys recent literature on the design of international institutions and applies the insights from it to the prospects for regional economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. The political and economic heterogeneity of the region has served the process of regional economic integration. But this heterogeneity has limited the extent of institutional development and contributed to well-known features of it, including a proliferation of competing institutions, consensus decision-making, "shallow" cooperation, and limited delegation to standing international secretariats. Changes in voting rules could, in principle, change these outcomes but are not likely to arise. Deepening cooperation will come, rather, from marginal changes in the extent of delegation. Several proposals are suggested about how this might occur, including more independent sources of information on regional trends, enhanced dispute settlement, and common projects that involve more extensive transfers from richer to poorer members.
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