Working Papers in Economics and Finance, University of Salzburg 2010-08
Since 1990 the number of preferential trade agreements has increased rapidly. Our argument explains this phenomenon, known as the new regionalism, as a result of competition for market access. Exporters that face trade diversion because of their exclusion from a preferential trade agreement concluded by foreign countries push their governments into signing an agreement with the country in which their exports are threatened. We test our argument in a quantitative analysis of the proliferation of preferential trade agreements among 167 countries between 1990 and 2007. The finding that competition for market access is a major driving force of the new regionalism is a contribution to the literature on regionalism and to broader debates about global economic regulation.