Handbook of the International Political Economy of Trade
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Trade

Edited by David Deese

David A. Deese brings together leading researchers and writers from different countries and disciplines in a coherent framework to highlight the most important and promising research and policy questions regarding international trade. The content includes fundamental theory about trade as international communication and its effects on growth and inequality; the domestic politics of trade and trends in government trade policies; the implications of bilateral and regional trade (and investment) agreements; key issues of how trade is governed globally; and how trade continues to define and advance globalization from immigration to the internet.
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Chapter 10: Regionalism’s past, present, and future

Greg Anderson


Over the past two decades, regionalism in international trade has increasingly drawn the attention of policy makers and economists, quite often for very different reasons. Both economists and policy makers have long worried about the implications of regionalism for postwar multilateral order anchored by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), renamed the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994. Yet economists and policy makers have slightly different sets of concerns where regionalism is concerned. Economists view regionalism with skepticism because of its corrosive effects on the efficiency and growth trade liberalization can bring. Policy makers are concerned with regionalism because of the many geopolitical ramifications attendant on the patchwork of economic preferences regionalism creates. Over the past two decades, both groups have worried about the ways in which regionalism has contributed to a series of phenomena that are increasingly difficult to reconcile with overall economic openness and liberal global trading. All of this helps explain why trade, and regionalism specifically, is the quintessential international political economy (IPE) topic pitting the efficiency models of economists against the political imperatives of those implementing policy. Much of the contemporary debate about regionalism has treated it as though it was a recent and worrisome phenomenon, as well as an outlier in the history of international trade.

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