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Journal of Economic Integration 2012 September;27(3) :437-465.
Why Is Open Regionalism Not Always Good?
Wai-Heng Loke and 1
L. Alan Winters 2
1University of Nottingham Ningbo China
2University of Sussex
Corresponding Author: Wai-Heng Loke ,Tel: +86 (0)574 8818 2637, Fax: +603 7967 3719, Email:
Copyright ©2012 Journal of Economic Integration
When the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) formally adopted the principle of “open regionalism” (OR) in its trade liberalization in 1991, many were optimistic that this approach suggested the bloc as a stepping stone toward global free trade. This optimistic view was reinforced by the economic theorizing of Sang-Seung Yi (1996). This paper shows formally via a simple model why OR may fail. We unpick Yi (1996) systematically and explain that OR works in his model because of quasilinear preferences and Ricardian technology assumptions. Once these assumptions are replaced with constant elasticity of substitution (CES) preferences and increasing marginal costs, OR fails to ensure global free trade as an equilibrium when the world consists of a country that is sufficiently larger than the rest of the world.

JEL Classification
F12: Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies
F13: Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
F15: Economic Integration
Keywords: Regional Integration | Equilibrium Coalition Structure | Welfare
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Towards A New Regionalism in East Asia  2004 September;19(3)
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