Power by Proxy: Explaining Innovation and Imitation in the RCEP

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    Fifteen countries recently signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and formed the world’s largest trade bloc between some of the globe’s largest and fastest-growing economies. Employing a text-as-data analysis, this article systematically compares the text of the RCEP to the previous agreements of its members to determine the sources of language in the RCEP and investigate why particular treaty text is replicated more frequently relative to others. The results indicate that language derived from the multiparty and multicontinental trade agreements of the United States, a state not involved in the RCEP negotiations, accounted for a disproportionate share of the finalized text. These findings highlight the temporal dimension of power asymmetries as well as the importance of treaty design itself in the diffusion of regulatory norms and suggest that specific trade agreements serve as reference points for subsequent agreements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)322-345
    JournalGlobal Governance
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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