Why Doesn’t Asia Have European-Style Regional Integration? Inter-Core Relationships and Network Diffusion
Why doesn’t Asia have European-style regional integration? The goal of this paper is to provide a network theoretic explanation of the different paths of Asia and Europe during the postwar period. First, we propose a punctuatedequilibrium model of network diffusion that emphasizes the uncertain nature of diffusion dynamics. Then, we argue that successful regional integration hinges crucially on factors that assure critical mass of countries to embark on a venture of regional integration without fear of exploitation or noncompliance by regional powers in the future. In that regard, we compare the Sino- Japanese relationship in Asia with the Franco-German relationship in Europe, which we call the inter-core relationship, in shaping different paths of regional network diffusion within the two regions. While France and Germany have jointly played pivotal roles in shaping the path to European integration, China and Japan have acted like “two tigers” in the same mountain and missing important opportunities in the 1970s to transform their bilateral relationship. Utilizing the World Treaty Index data set and the community detection method, we found that distinct inter-core relationships in Europe and Asia indeed led to different patterns of evolution in the community structure of bilateral economic networks between Asian and European countries during the postwar period.
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