Regional Integration and Economic Development in South Asia

Regional Integration and Economic Development in South Asia

Edited by Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Sridhar Khatri and Hans-Peter Brunner

This book considers the leadership of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the interaction with civil society in the process of South Asian regional cooperation and integration, and discusses how the emerging urgency in the provision of regional public goods provides an excellent opportunity to add to the successes in South Asian regional integration.

Preface: Regional Integration for Shared Prosperity in South Asia

Edited by Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Sridhar Khatri and Hans-Peter Brunner

Subjects: asian studies, asian economics, asian urban and regional studies, development studies, development economics, development studies, economics and finance, asian economics, development economics, urban and regional studies, regional studies, urban studies

Extract

When social and geographic distances between parts of a region are relatively large, transport costs sufficiently high, and connectivity between places thus relatively low, or institutional differences sufficiently strong, the different parts of a regional economy evolve fairly independently (Essletzichler and Rigby, 2010). Economic gaps between the parts are large and persistent, and may even grow if one or several of the parts of the region experience economic transformations, and become more integrated into the world economy. Economic integration has the highest transformative effect and thus economic impact in the lagging and peripheral areas of the region. When economic integration transforms the region and spreads new infrastructures, institutions and approaches that lower frictions, and alleviate coordination and information failures, the benefits from stronger regional cooperation and integration tend to be highest for the peripheral regions and in this case for the poor in South Asia. This book advances debates about why, how and when regional cooperation and integration efforts and measures are best undertaken. This book is unusual because the chapters were started under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) ‘Track Two’ process, where civil society feeds back its insights into the SAARC government regional integration decisions (the government decision process is considered ‘Track One’). The main contents of all chapters in this book were presented to a pre-summit SAARC audience in October 2011. It is expected that this dual track approach strengthens the regional cooperation and integration process with increased political will supported by civil society, and...