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67 Working Paper

Transnational Integration Regimes as Development Programs

Nov 1, 2008 Laszlo Bruszt and Gerald A. McDermott


In drawing on recent advances in international and comparative political economy, this paper argues that diverging paths of institutional development among emerging market democracies are driven by the Transnational Integration Regimes (TIRs), in which a country is embedded. TIRs are more than trade agreements, aid projects, or harmonization systems and should be viewed as development programs. To date, research on the role of international factors shaping local instit- utional development has done little to move beyond references to markets and hegemonic hier- archies as the main mechanisms of change, compliance, and commitment. This work is largely based on a depoliticized view of institutional change, and overlooks the growing literature on the evolution of regulative capitalism and the diverse patterns of transnationalizing the modern state. By integrating this latter work into our analysis, we show how TIRs differ less in terms of their incentives and largess and more in terms of their emphasis on building institutional ca- pacities and ability to merge monitoring and learning at both the national and supranational levels. We develop a comparative framework to show these systematic differences through an analysis of the impact of the EU Accession Process on postcommunist countries and NAFTA on Mexico.