Do Regional Economic Organisations Suffer from a Democratic Legitimacy Deficit?

Evidence from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas

Francesco Duina & Tobias Lenz University of British Columbia/European University Institute

Many observers of the European Union (EU) argue that economic integration has generated a ‘democratic legitimacy deficit’. They point to six problematic institutional mechanisms influencing the ‘input’, ‘throughput’, and ‘output’ dimensions of EU policymaking. Despite recent calls not to consider the EU as a sui generiscase of integration, scholars have yet to investigate in a systematic fashion whether other regional economic organisations (REOs) may also be experiencing a democratic legitimacy deficit. In this article, we examine whether the six deficit-causing mechanisms purportedly present in the EU case are at work in the most important REOs in the world. 

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