Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

The Institutionalisation of Regional Integration in North America

Document type Thesis
Author Farías Pelcastre, Iván
Degree Ph.D., Political Science and International Studies
Publisher University of Birmingham; Birmingham, UK
Date 2014
Pages 345 pages


Current studies of regional integration in North America claim that this process is limited to the entering of intergovernmental agreements that aim to expand and enhance crossborder flows of goods and capitals between Mexico, Canada and the US. Such studies claim that the political effects of the process on nation-states are limited and constrained by the decisions of the national governments. In contrast, this thesis argues that the actions of transnational actors have increased the policy interdependence between the three countries in the arenas of environmental protection, labour cooperation and protection of foreign direct investment. Transnational actors have used, applied and interpreted the rules originally created by the intergovernmental agreements –NAFTA, NAAEC, BECA and NAALC– and have subsequently demanded additional and improved rules. Regional institutions have in turn responded to these demands by supplying new and improved regional rules. In doing so, transnational actors and regional institutions have furthered the policy interdependence between the three countries. This phenomenon, known in other contexts as institutionalisation, demonstrates that the process of regional integration in North America is more substantial than previous studies claim. In addition, it illustrates the relevance of the theories of Liberal Intergovernmentalism and Supranational Governance to the analysis of the emergence and development of the North American integration process.