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Synopsis

The growth of regional trading blocs has been one of the major developments in international relations in recent years. This volume extends the literature on it by examining regionalism from the viewpoint of developing countries, by providing a comprehensive account of existing theory and empirical results, by incorporating the findings of formal analyses of the politics and dynamics of regionalism, and by analyzing issues of credibility, deep integration, and the relationship between regionalism and multilateralism. In addition the volume offers concrete guidance to policy makers. Regional integration has an ambiguous impact on welfare and is too complex and case-specific to permit universal operational rules. Nevertheless, the authors have extracted a number of robust messages from the analysis that apply in the majority of circumstances. These are collected together into eight themes, broken down into thirty rules of thumb, that should guide policy makers considering creating or joining a new trade bloc.

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