North American Economic Integration
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North American Economic Integration

Theory and Practice

Norris C. Clement, Gustavo del Castillo Vera, James Gerber, William A. Kerr, Alan J. MacFayden, Stanford Shedd, Eduardo Zepeda and Diana Alarcón

This highly accessible book explains the theoretical, historical and political background of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), its impact and the debates surrounding its existence. In addition the authors provide a brief introduction to the theory of economic integration as well as a succinct overview of the evolution of the global economy, and the institutions that manage it, in the post World War II period.
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Norris C. Clement, Gustavo del Castillo Vera, James Gerber, William A. Kerr, Alan J. MacFayden, Stanford Shedd, Eduardo Zepeda and Diana Alarcón


  Many books and academic articles have been published on North American economic integration in the last decade. In fact, this vast outpouring of literature has  produced what the economist Peter Kresl referred to, only partly in jest, as one of the most dramatically expanding industries in North America, the ‘Free Trade  Debate Industry’. Nevertheless, until the publication of this book there was, to our knowledge, no single volume providing a balanced and accessible introduction to  this complex and controversial subject.  The project that led to the writing and subsequent publication of this book brought together economists from three North American universities: San Diego State  University, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte and the University of Calgary. This endeavor, and the book itself, grew out of a larger project entitled ‘North American  Integration’, funded by the United States Information Agency's University Affiliations Program. Subsequently, other organizations contributed the modest amounts  necessary for the authors to convene a series of workshops and bring the book to fruition.  While there is considerable diversity among the authors in terms of background, training and beliefs regarding the virtues of international economic integration, all share  the view that North American economic integration has been under way for several decades. That is, North American economic integration did not start with the  implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in January 1994, nor would it have stopped had the agreement not been signed. Therefore,  we regard NAFTA not as a milestone dramatically altering an historical process,...

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