IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is NAFTA economic integration?


  • William C. Gruben
  • John H. Welch


Most economists agree that trade liberalization raises incomes and living standards. To achieve trade liberalization, though, countries must sometimes first reach trade agreements. And trade agreements, as William Gruben and John Welch observe, may intertwine elements of both liberalization and protectionism. As an example, Gruben and Welch examine the negotiation process that preceded passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. ; Is NAFTA economic integration? Although some authors think so, Gruben and Welch believe that interpreting NAFTA purely as economic integration is misleading. A more useful way to interpret NAFTA, they claim, is to start by recognizing it as the latest synthesis of an ongoing conflict between those who support trade liberalization and those who want trade protectionism. NAFTA offers broad-based trade openings, but it still contains restrictively protectionist components. In considering the efforts of trade liberalization advocates and trade protectionists, the authors also attempt to show how members of these pressure groups form alliances, disguise their efforts, and otherwise attempt to achieve their goals.

Suggested Citation

  • William C. Gruben & John H. Welch, 1994. "Is NAFTA economic integration?," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q II, pages 35-51.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedder:y:1994:i:qii:p:35-51

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Backus, David K. & Kehoe, Patrick J. & Kehoe, Timothy J., 1992. "In search of scale effects in trade and growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 377-409, December.
    2. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 2009. "A North American Free Trade Agreement: Analytical Issues and a Computational Assessment," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Globalization And International Trade Policies, chapter 12, pages 393-424 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Cletus C. Coughlin & David C. Wheelock, 1995. "Lessons from the United States and European Community for the integration of high and low income economies," Working Papers 1995-007, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

    More about this item


    North American Free Trade Agreement;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedder:y:1994:i:qii:p:35-51. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Amy Chapman). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.