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Abstract

The European Union (EU) represents a quintessential example of regional economic integration, but not the sole case meriting consideration. This paper uses a comparative regional approach to analyze economic integration in the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Excluding colonialism’s role in Asian regionalism, the EU and ASEAN had similar roots and goals for economic integration including creating stability in a post war era, gaining a stronger collective voice, and fostering economic growth. However, despite similar foundations their trajectories towards integration diverged. This paper identifies key factors influencing how these polities have integrated markets including institutional structure and capacity, regional political conditions, and dynamics of regional trade. Then, it analyzes the roles of these elements in defining EU and ASEAN economic integration projects. Through this analysis, this paper seeks to bridge gaps between literatures analyzing individual cases and move towards a dynamic comparative model for the study of regional economic integration.

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