NAFTA at 20: The North American Free Trade Agreement’s Achievements and Challenges


nafta20-094boskinThe Hoover Institution Press today released NAFTA at 20, edited by Hoover senior fellow and renowned economist Michael Boskin.  NAFTA at 20 offers a unique compilation of perspectives from US, Canadian, and Mexican economists, historians, and policy makers of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and examines its conception, creation, outcomes so far, and future.

“NAFTA was bold and controversial from the start. When first conceived, it was far from obvious that it would be possible given the circumstances of the times,” stated Boskin. “It became a magnet for complaints about globalization, growth, the decline of organized labor, and capitalism.”

Drawing from a December 2013 Hoover Institution conference, this volume brings together the work of distinguished academics and high-level policy makers, all of whom helped negotiate the agreement. In the context of the fundamental economic and political transformation of North America, they discuss the trade, real wage, and welfare gains that NAFTA has produced for the United States, Mexico, and Canada, along with a review of the major energy markets within and among the three countries. They include lessons from NAFTA for the future, both for NAFTA itself and for other trade agreements, and stress the importance of political leadership and  information on the benefits of trade liberalization to voters and potentially ill-informed politicians who hear most loudly from the opponents.

“I believe there has emerged out of this a sense that there is such a thing as North America. There is regional representation that’s arrived without people understanding that it’s happened,” stated Secretary George Shultz.

NAFTA has become the template for hundreds of subsequent free trade agreements. As new events demand our attention, we tend to take history and current institutions for granted; thus it is helpful to understand the context of the economic and political situation.  This book serves as a resource for insight into the lessons learned from NAFTA for the future of both NAFTA itself and other trade agreements.

EDITOR: Michael J. Boskin is the Tully M. Friedman Professor of Economics and senior fellow, at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. As chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1989 to 1993, he helped initiate NAFTA. He is the author of more than 150 books and articles on economic growth, tax and budget theory and policy, US saving and consumption patterns, and the implications of changing technology and demography on capital, labor, and product markets.

AUTHORS: Kyle Bagwell, Michael J. Boskin, Lorenzo Caliendo, Caroline Freund, Stephen Haber, Carla A. Hills, Jaime Serra Puche, George P. Shultz, Thomas F. Stephenson, James L. Sweeney, John B. Taylor, Daniel Trefler, and Michael H. Wilson

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