A multiple perspective analysis of the North American Free Trade Agreement

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Bruce M. Bagley - Committee Chair


The study answers three questions related to the initiation, negotiation and the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The specific questions answered are: (1) Why did the United States initiate NAFTA; (2) Why did the United States negotiate the agreement in the manner that it did; and (3) Why did the U.S. Congress ratify the agreement. It answers these questions by employing a multiple perspective analysis that includes one systemic, one societal and two state-level explanations. The specific explanatory perspectives used to answer each question include a hegemony in decline analysis, an interest group analysis, an interbranch analysis, and an impact of ideas analysis. By employing these four perspectives in the same study, it seeks to exploit the unique insights that each perspective has to offer in order to account for both the important international and domestic factors that shaped this agreement's outcome. The result of using these four perspectives in a simultaneous and complementary fashion is an explanation that is more comprehensive, more thorough, and in the end, more satisfying than if only one or even two explanatory perspectives were used.


Political Science, General; Political Science, International Law and Relations

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