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First published in 1962, The Theory of Economic Integration provides an excellent exposition of a complex and far-reaching topic. Professor Balassa has been remarkably successful in covering so much ground with such care and balance, in a treatment which is neither in any way abstruse nor unnecessarily technical. His book will interest economists in Europe by reason of its subject and treatment, but it is also a valuable and reliable textbook for students tackling integration as part of a course of International Economics and for those studying Public Finance.
He distinguishes between the various forms of integration (free trade area, customs union, common market, economics union, and total integration). In addition, he applies the theoretical principles to current projects such as the European Common Market and Free Trade Area, and to Latin American integration projects.
In offering this theoretical study, the author builds on the conclusions of other writers, but goes beyond this in providing a unifying framework for previous contributions and in exploring questions that in the past received little attention – in particular, the relationship between economic integration and growth (especially the interrelationship between market size and growth, and the implications of various factors for economic growth in an integrated area).