Towards an Exhaustive Regional Integration Agreements Database

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UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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UNU-CRIS Working Papers
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Recent decades have seen regional integration agreements (RIAs) become a dominant feature of international relations. The rapid proliferation of agreements has sparked the need to compile information on the phenomenon. In answer to this call, several projects started gathering data on trade agreements and regional organisations and have become widely used in regional integration studies. Despite these efforts to collect data, some challenges remain. One issue is that no single database offers a complete picture of the current world trading scene owing to data collection and coding limitations. Additionally, when the data sets overlap, they are often inconsistent and sometimes provide conflicting information that could potentially bias analyses.

This paper provides an overview of the five most prominent databases on RIAs. We show how these databases can be combined to create a more comprehensive repository of trade agreements and regional organisations. The final database contains 1,149 trade agreements and regional organisations from the early 1910s to 2020. The database contains information on treaty characteristics, including the year of signature, entry into force, or inactivity of an agreement. We also provide categorisations of the type and region of RIAs. Moreover, we track the changes in membership: following late accessions or early withdrawals to RIAs. We provide this detailed country membership data in both panel and dyadic formats, adjusted for the year of entry into force when available. By linking each treaty to a parent RIA, we can easily study how the content of agreements evolves.

View the RIA database on the RIKS platform

Trade agreements, regional organisation, international trade