Céline Carrère, Julien Gourdon, Marcelo Olarreaga, 15 May 2012

Regional integration schemes that include natural-resource-abundant countries have by and large been unsuccessful. Part of the reason is the uneven distribution of gains when resource-poor and resource-rich countries integrate. This column presents new evidence suggesting that the slow progress of regional integration efforts in the Middle East and North Africa can be explained by the reluctance of resource-rich countries to enter into trade agreements that will hurt them.

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