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Overlapping Regionalism in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe Compared

Überlappender Regionalismus in Afrika, Amerika, Asien und Europa

Überlappender Regionalismus in Afrika, Amerika, Asien und Europa

Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) 

Project Leadership: Prof. Dr. Diana Panke, Dr. Sören Stapel 

Student Assistants: Lisa Hartmann, Fenna Kreuz, Hanne Oldenhof, Lukas Weißenberger 



After the end of the Second World War and the end of the Cold War, states increasingly cooperated with each other on a regional basis and founded regional organizations (ROs) for this purpose. Today's more than 70 ROs are characterized by the phenomenon of overlapping regionalism, as states are usually members of several ROs and the ROs also overlap in terms of their policy competences. Overlapping regionalism is widespread, but we still know very little about the phenomenon. This is surprising, not least because overlapping regionalism can have negative implications for the effectiveness of ROs if they share member states and have identical competences but adopt incompatible rules. In order to investigate these aspects comprehensively, the project addresses three questions: How has overlapping regionalism developed over time, in different regions and policy fields? Why and under what conditions does overlapping regionalism emerge and when does it increase? How do state and regional actors react to the phenomenon of overlapping regionalism and how does this affect the effectiveness of ROs? 


Research Objectives:  

The project pursues three objectives, corresponding to the guiding research questions. First, it examines how overlapping regionalism has developed over time, in different regions and policy fields, in order to identify developments and patterns as well as similarities and differences. Second, the project examines which factors have contributed to the emergence and growth of overlapping regionalism. Third, the project focuses on reactions to overlapping regionalism, i.e. how national and regional actors deal with the phenomenon, and how these reactions affect the effectiveness of ROs. 

 The project pursues the following objectives: 

  • to present new empirical evidence on the development and manifestation of overlapping regionalism and the reactions to the phenomenon; 

  • to develop explanations for the variance in the extent of overlapping regionalism over time, in different regions and policy fields, as well as explanations for the reactions of national and regional actors to the phenomenon; 

  • to develop alternative approaches to the effectiveness of regional governance that do not treat ROs in isolation, but explicitly consider how states and ROs respond to contextual conditions, particularly overlapping regionalisms. 





Articles in Journals (with peer review) 


Chapters in Edited Volumes 

  • Diana Panke, Sören Stapel (under review): Regional Organizations, Regionalism and Global Reordering. In: Jan Wouters, Katja Biedenkopf, Kolja Raube and Gustavo Müller (eds.): Handbook of Global Reordering and Connectivity, London: Routledge.  

  • Diana Panke, Sören Stapel (under review): When RIOs grow up. Adaptation through Mandate Change?, In: Julia Gray (ed.): Life Cycles of International Cooperation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 

  • Diana Panke, Sören Stapel (2024): Multi-level governance. In: Philippe De Lombaerde (ed.): Edward Elgar Handbook on Regional Cooperation and Integration, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 417-430. 

  • Diana Panke, Sören Stapel (2023): North America in Comparative Perspective. Regional Cooperation Dynamics in the Western Hemisphere and the World. In: Eric Hershberg, Tom Long (eds.): North American Regionalism. Stagnation, Decline, or Renewal?. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 191-210. 


Policy Briefs