Re-examining the Role of Transport Infrastructure in Trade, Regional Growth and Governance: Comparing the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and Central Eastern Europe (CEE)

François Bafoil, Ruiwen Lin

Abstract


The main objective of this article is to question the hypothesis of the role of transport infrastructures in regional economic growth by comparing Central Eastern Europe (supported by the EU structural and cohesion funds) and the Greater Mekong Subregion (mainly supported by the “economic corridors” of the ADB). Three main components of trade efficiency are scrutinized and compared: (1) the historical development of trade agreements, (2) the supra-national (regional) capacity of trade regulation, and (3) the micro level of governance between the different actors involved in trade. The comparison between CEE and the GMS is all the more warranted because of two paradoxes that need to be explained: The first one results from the existing link between transport and growth in the case of the GMS, and the lack of a link in the case of CEE. The second paradox insists on the fact that despite their very different institutional frameworks, both subregions continue to face similar challenges concerning the implementation of trade agreements and the exchange of facilities at the local level – pointing towards the issue of governance.

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