CROP - The Comparative Regional Organizations Project


CROP is a database project aiming to facilitate the systematic comparison of international regional organizations. It is linked to a research project exploring the influence of diffusion processes on the design of regional organizations. CROP has collected the founding and amending treaties of more than 80 regional organizations since 1945, and coded their institutional design and characteristics with a questionnaire of more than 300 items. It constitutes one of the largest and most detailled data gathering project on regional organizations to date.

CROP Funding

CROP received initial funding for three-years from the German Research Foundation (DFG) (2015-2018). It was extended for another year (2018-2019). Funding will officially end in May 2020.

Exploring Insitutional Design Characteristics

The CROP database allows us to describe and analyse in detail the pattern of emergence and institutional development of regional organizations, as indicated by their agreements. It captures the institutional characteristics of regional organizations established since 1945. We are particularly interested in the formal institutional structure of regional organizations. ‚ÄúInstitutional structure‚ÄĚ refers to the institutions and policies mentioned in the regional organizations‚Äô founding and amending agreements. We understand these to be regional organizations‚Äô ‚Äúconstitutions‚ÄĚ, defined here as a ‚Äúset of institutions governing political decision-making‚ÄĚ (Weingast 1995: 2). Thus, every regional organization in this sense has its own ‚Äúconstitution‚ÄĚ, even if it does not necessarily bind its member states together in a meaningful way or does not meet more demanding criteria regarding the ‚Äėoptimal design of the constitution-making process‚Äô (Elster 1998). 


Papers and updates are regularly posted on ResearchGate:


CROP - Figures and Tables



Figure 1 displays the number of regional organizations by year and region, 1919-2017.






Figure 2 displays the number of regional organizations by year and region, 1919-2017, including the overall number of regional organizations in the international system.





Figure 3 displays the factor scores for three normative dimensions in the agreements of ROs. The dimensions are a Liberal (eg human rights norms), a Westphalian (eg norms of non-interference into domestic affairs), and a Sustainability one. Positive values (right side) mean above-average scores, negative values (left side) mean below-average scores. The graph can be interpreted such that the Organization of American States (OAS) has above average scores on the Liberal and Westphalian dimension, but scores below average for sustainability norms.





Figure 3 displays the distribution of the length of agreements (in words) across regions. Source: CROP