Discussion Papers

No.836 Regionalism and Exclusionary Leadership: The Case of International Sporting Events and Trade Cooperation

by Shintaro Hamanaka

February 2022


This paper empirically tests the plausibility of theories of exclusionary regionalism that make the following predictions: (i) small(er) states pursue small(er) regionalism by excluding larger states in order to assume some exclusionary leadership role, and (ii) as a result, regionalism proliferates in an overlapping and nested manner. To verify the explanatory power of these theories, this paper considers case studies of regionalism in two different fields—trade and sports. Empirical investigation confirms that smaller and smaller regionalism is pursued in both regional trade and regional games in line with the theories. However, we also find some important differences, such as the existence of North American Free Trade Area despite the absence of North American games, which can be explained by factors unique to specific issue areas.

Keywords: regionalism, exclusion, exclusionary regionalism, regional sports games, regional trade agreements

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