Questions related to the economics of regionalism became increasingly important beginning in the late 1980s, when regional groupings started to become very popular as a tool of commercial policy. The goal of this book is to address the question of whether or not regionalism in developed countries has truly benefited developing countries and to what degree regionalism among developing countries and between developed and developing countries will improve economic development prospects.
Mordechai Kreinin and Michael Plummer consider the implications of the emerging global trend of economic regionalism for developing countries. The analysis focuses on the trade and investment effects of integration in developed countries on developing countries, as well as the ramifications of regional integration in the latter. After an extensive review of the theoretical and empirical literature pertinent to the economics of regionalism, the book considers the ex-post trade and direct-foreign-investment effects of the Single Market Program in Europe and NAFTA, followed by chapters on ASEAN and economic integration in Latin America, primarily MERCOSUR. The study suggests three salient conclusions. First, in designing preferential trading arrangements, developed countries should recognize and attempt to minimize the possible discriminating effect on developing countries. Second, the developing countries have an abiding interest in the success of WTO negotiations that would minimize the discrimination against them of regional groupings in Europe and North America. And third, any customs unions or free-trade areas among the developing countries themselves should be outward-looking if they are to enhance the welfare of developing countries.
Economists and policy scholars, as well as readers interested in regionalism and economic development, will find this book a great resource.