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Taking Stock of Inter-American Bonds: Approaches to Explaining Cooperation in the Western Hemisphere

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Scholars have furnished increasingly high-quality accounts of cooperation in the Americas during the 1980s and 1990s. The work has been rich empirically but sparse theoretically. This essay reviews the existing literature, providing a historical overview of the cooperation that has occurred as well as categorizing previous research into that focusing on internal versus external pressures for cooperation. The studies that explore international incentives for cooperation examine institutions, ideas, globalization, and the balance of power as potential explanations for what has happened, but fail to account for variation in individual countries' economic cooperativeness. The research focusing on internal pressures looks at domestic markets, politics, and bureaucracies, but often fails to step beyond the narrow case to consider a generalizable phenomenon. The article concludes with an argument in favor of a synthetic approach, calling for the careful specification of interaction effects linking international and domestic incentives.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University

Publication date: November 1, 1998

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