Modeling the dynamic impact of North American free trade
The current tool of choice for analyzing the impact of a potential North American Free Trade Agreement on the economies of Canada, Mexico, and the United States is the static applied general equilibrium model. Although this type of model can do a good job in analyzing, and even in predicting, the impact of trade liberalization or tax reform on relative prices and resource allocation over a short time horizon, it does not attempt to capture the impact of government policy on growth rates. For this we need a dynamic model. This paper outlines some of the issues that confront a researcher interested in building a dynamic general equilibrium model to assess the potential economic impact of a NAFTA, including the impact on growth rates. Simple calculations based on preliminary empirical work indicate that the dynamic benefits of increased openness could dwarf the static benefits found by more conventional applied general equilibrium models.
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