Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Political Science

Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Harry Vanden, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Bernd Reiter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rachel May, Ph.D.


NAFTA, Economic Liberalism, Free Trade, Labor


The goal of this thesis is to examine the effect of neoliberalism on developing nations. Specifically it will look at how neoliberalism has affected Mexico via the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mexico was chosen because since its depression in 1982 it has adopted continuing neoliberal policy, which according to its leaders, United States leaders, and international governmental bodies, is the path to development and the improvement of the standard of living for all people. This work begins by examining the historical path of neoliberalism to provide context for choosing Mexico for the focal point of this thesis, as well as context for the situation occurring in Mexico. It then examines neoliberalism via its scholars who are in support of it and against it. This is followed by an evaluation method based off of Amarya Sen's capability approach to development. Then several previous studies are examined to prove qualitatively that there have been adverse effects experienced under NAFTA in Mexico, by all of the established evaluation parameters. Then this thesis turns to a discussion of some descriptive statistics relating to the approach set up by Sen. It concludes with quantitative approach showing over interesting correlations of neoliberalism, to other variables indicative of capabilities via linear regression.