Chapter 3 The era of un-institutionalized regions: explaining the diminished prospects of regional integration in the twenty-first century
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Regional integration played a major albeit underappreciated role in shaping the second half of the 20th century for the better. While the case of the European Union is well known, regional organizations (ROs) in other parts of the world also significantly contributed to both the “Long Peace” and the economic “Long Boom” that characterized the post-WWII era. ROs, through their facilitation of state-to-state relations and other kinds of cross-border cooperation, tend to make their members more peaceful, wealthier, and better governed than would otherwise be the case. As the 21st century progresses, however, regional initiatives are increasingly being contested across the world: worldwide support for regionalism has fallen in recent years, at both the popular and elite levels. At the same time, stakeholders that were previously important in upholding regionalism, such as business lobby groups and national parliaments, are increasingly finding themselves sidelined amid a sea of nationalism and suspicion of cross-border trade deals.

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