Arab regional integration : a neo-functionalist and transactionalist analysis
This thesis is a multidisciplinary analysis of Arab regional integration using the neo- functionalist and transactionalist approaches to integration. Neo-functionalism analyses the process of integration in the Arab World by studying the role of regional institutions including the league of Arab States and three Arab joint ventures. The transactionalist approach examines the impact of regional trade on political and economic integration in the Arab Mashreq. The analysis of the Arab joint ventures is taken further by using elements of business and finance theories. It is conducted on two different levels: the first analyses the operational and financial performance of these ventures. The second examines their role in promoting regional integration especially in the sectors concerned. The analysis is intended to find out whether these ventures were commercially viable or were more politically inspired. Qualitative information was collected from conducting constructive interviews with Arab economists, politicians and managers of the Arab joint ventures examined. The quantitative data was collected from recognisable resources including the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and the Arab Monetary Fund. The problems encountered in this thesis resulted from the application of these theoretical approaches to integration, which are designed to study integration in politically developed societies with more advanced economies. However, the choice is justified since there are no alternatives. Secondly, the data on trade and Arab joint ventures may not be completely accurate since it does not record all transactions. The thesis concludes the following: at the political level, regional institutions did not promote Arab integration since they lacked aspects of supranationality and collective decision-making processes. Also, they did not affect the Arab elite's attitudes and could not initiate a viable process of integration that would spill over from one sector to another. At the economic level, the low level of regional trade in the Arab Mashreq did not prevent the occurrence of many attempts at Arab integration. Moreover, the Arab joint ventures were more politically inspired than commercially. Although they were more resilient to economic and political instability in the Arab World, their role in promoting regional integration was limited.