As NAFTA enters its eighth year, many questions about its environmental and social impacts have not yet received definitive answers. Indeed, it is not always clear where to look for answers. Aggregate assessments covering all the impacts of NAFTA on one or more of the member nations raise complex methodological problems, involving major economic models that are far from transparent (Gallagher et al 2001).
At the other extreme, journalistic accounts present only anecdotal evidence on the most visible impacts, which are often difficult to evaluate due to lack of comprehensiveness. An attractive alternative is to examine impacts at an intermediate level of aggregation, focusing on a single industry. This study attempts to pursue that alternative.