Regional Cooperation and Integration: Why? Where? and So What?
This working paper reports on the main conclusions of an ambitious handbook project (Handbook on Regional Cooperation and Integration, published by Edward Elgar).
The handbook answers three fundamental questions: Why is regional cooperation needed? Where has it been implemented? What does the empirical evidence tell us about its effectiveness and impact?
It is shown that there are strong normative theoretical arguments in favour of regional cooperation in various policy fields, based on a variety of criteria, and in consonance with the realities of multi-level governance and the subsidiarity principle.
It is shown that regional cooperation and integration have been implemented all over the world, be it in a variety of forms and modalities.
It is finally shown that there is solid empirical evidence of the beneficial effects of regional cooperation or integration for citizens in several areas, even if these effects are sometimes conditional on accompanying factors; in some cases, the evidence is mixed or inconclusive.