The Rise of Regionalism: A Neo-Utilitarian Approach

26 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2006

See all articles by Dominick H.F. Brook

Dominick H.F. Brook

Ohio University, Athens; Ohio State University - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: August 2006


With the apparent rise of regional blocs in the international system this paper aims to investigate why nation-states want to integrate regionally. Rejecting a constructivist approach this paper considers the question from the two neo-utilitarian approaches of neo-realism and neo-liberalism. Although the neo-realist principle of relative gains generally rules out cooperation, hypotheses based on hegemonic stability theory are tested to see if either an internal or external leader can foster regional cooperation. The neo-liberal approach first examines the cost and benefits of regional cooperation. Having established that the benefits may outweigh the cost, game theory is used to explain how cooperation is fostered in an anarchical world system. The paper concludes that the neo-liberal approach can better explain the rise of regionalism than the neo-realist approach.

Keywords: Regionalism, International Relations, European Union, EU, ASEAN, Mercator, NAFTA

JEL Classification: R50

Suggested Citation

Brook, Dominick H.F., The Rise of Regionalism: A Neo-Utilitarian Approach (August 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Dominick H.F. Brook (Contact Author)

Ohio University, Athens ( email )

Athens, OH 45701-2979
United States

Ohio State University - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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