There is a renewed emphasis on fostering regional integration processes
in the belief that this is good for development and poverty reduction.
Unfortunately, a framework to map regional integration (RI) onto poverty
does not exist, although there is a lot of research that is directly
relevant. The evidence has never been put together into a single
framework to address the links between RI and poverty. The purpose of
this book is to provide such a framework. It is hoped that such a
mapping exercise will inform those responsible for regional trade policy
with respect to the presence of such links and where available with
respect to the effects of available policy options on poverty. The
resulting mapping should also be useful in identifying a checklist of
areas relevant to assess the impact of RI on poverty in individual
The book is in three parts: Part I deals with conceptual issues and
evidence so far. The aim is to provide a theoretical structure or
mapping of regional integration on poverty. Part I argues that much
evidence is based on multi-country or multi-region studies, deals with
averages and fails to identify which provisions in which regional trade
agreements (RTAs) have what effect (on trade, FDI, poverty etc.) in
which country. Studies that examine the effects of regional integration
often use simple dummy variables to describe regions. This is
problematic for those who want to negotiate the best possible type of
region: in reality no region is the same and some guidance is required
on best-practices in provisions in RTAs. For many other links we do not
have evidence at all.
In part II, trade and investment provisions in several key regions are
measured and the way in which these these affect investment is
discussed. The chapter confirms and describes that regional provisions
differ markedly across RTAs and across time.
Part III addresses the effects of regional integration on poverty in two
countries (Bolivia and Tanzania). This provides a good test of the
mapping structure set out in part I.
The chapters in this book were presented at the ODI conference on
Regional Integration and Poverty in London on 3 September 2004.
Regional Integration and Poverty, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London, UK, 230 pp.
Regional Integration and Poverty