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Scope and Level of Integration: Explaining a Mismatch

  • Olivier Dabène
Part of the The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series (SPIRP)

Abstract

One of the most visible contradictions of Latin American experiences with integration is the very modest level of integration achieved through the years, as compared to the inflated agenda of topics discussed by the presidents during their summits, or the great variety of norms adopted by the numerous organs. Level of integration most commonly refers to the institutions’ decisional authority, their enforcement capacities, and their ability to represent the regional common interest beyond and over private national ones. The threshold of supranationality is often considered a milestone in the evolution oward deeper integration. Although there is room for discussion on the importance of supranationality, without a doubt the balance between scope and level of integration deserves closer examination. Whatever we may think of neo-functionalism, Philippe Schmitter was right to point out the importance of this balance, considering that “whether member states will expand or contract the type of issues to be resolved jointly (scope), or whether they will increase or decrease the authority for regional institutions to allocate values (level), are the two basic dimensions for the dependent variable.” He correctly added that they were “by no means always covariant.”1 In another seminal piece on Central America, he described a dynamic of spill-around that Latin America still seems to perfectly embody.

Keywords

Integration Process Regional Integration Free Trade Agreement Variable Geometry Issue Area 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Philippe Schmitter, “A Revised Theory of Regional Integration,” International Organization 24(4), 1970, p. 841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Philippe Schmitter, “Central American Integration: Spill-over, Spill-around or Encapsulation?” Journal of Common Market Studies 9(1), September 1970, p. 39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 5.
    Dorette Corbey, “Dialectical Functionalism: Stagnation as a Booster of European Integration,” International Organization 49(2), Spring 1995, p. 253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 17.
    Regional integration has never been a burden for Central American governments. According to ROCAP’s figures, cited by Joseph Nye in 1965, “the price of running the integration institutions has been quite low: equivalent of roughly 1% of the five government budgets or one-tenth of 1% of the regional gross domestic product. Furthermore, the governments pay only a quarter of these costs directly, the largest part being met from earnings on services and foreign assistance.” See Joseph Nye, “Central American Regional Integration,” in Joseph Nye (ed.), International Regionalism, Boston, Little, Brown, 1968, p. 400.Google Scholar
  5. 23.
    Reunión Extraordinaria de Présidentes de Centroamérica, RepúblicaDominicana y Beiice, Ayuda Memoria, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, February 4, 1999.Google Scholar
  6. 24.
    Reunión Extraordinaria de Présidentes Centroamericanos, República Dominicana y Beiice con el Présidente de los Estados Unidos de América, Declaración de Antigua, Antigua, Guatemala, March 11, 1999.Google Scholar
  7. 44.
    Stephen Clarkson, Uncle Sam and Us, Globalization, Neoconservatism and the Canadian State, University of Toronto Press, 2002. See also Ricardo Grinspun and Maxwell Cameron, The Political Economy of North American Free Trade, New York, Saint Martin’s Press, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Olivier Dabène 2009

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  • Olivier Dabène

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