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Regional Economic Organisations and Security Institutions in a Comparative Perspective

Yoram Haftel
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Yoram Haftel
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The proliferation of regional economic organizations (REOs) is one of the most prominent features of the contemporary international environment. Many of these organizations aspire to promote regional peace and stability. Some strive to promote these goals only through economic cooperation, while others involve mechanisms that address security concerns more directly. A glance at the security components of such regional organizations indicates that they are very diverse in terms of purpose, design, and level of implementation. The goal of this study is to shed light on the sources and consequences of this poorly understood phenomenon. It seeks to address two related questions: 1) why do some REOs “nest” security organs in their mandate while others facilitate cooperation only on economic and functional issues? And 2) what explains differences in the design of security sub-structures incorporated into REOs? I address these questions by, first, developing a theoretical framework that considers the incentives for and constraints on regional cooperation. The interaction of such factors suggests that conflict-prone regions that include a hegemonic member whose interests align with those of the rest of the members will develop far-reaching security components within REOs. I then evaluate these expectations with a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods.
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