Date of Award

Spring 4-13-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

B.A. in International Studies

Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies, International Studies

First Advisor

Sandy Johnson


Trade, Economics, Global health, Social determinants of health, Liberalization, Critical political economy


Given the increased transnationalization of borders and economic interdependence between countries in the Global North and South, it is imperative to address how these trends impact the health and well being of the populations involved. The conventional neoliberal economic framework, however, falls short in explaining these dynamics due to its overemphasis of proximal determinants of health as direct consequences of commodification and free market activities. In congruence with those theoretical limitations, there is a limited assessment of more distal determinants – the social determinants of health (SDOH) – that are arguably more consequential for health and are interrelated with the dynamics of domestic, regional, and global political economies. The relationship between trade liberalization and SDOH, therefore, deserves greater examination through a critical political economy oriented framework that accounts for the shortcomings of the conventional neoliberal framework. This thesis seeks to address the aforementioned gaps by assessing the impacts of trade liberalization on SDOH within a case-study analysis of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its impact on Mexican SDOH pathways in the period between 1994 and 2005. I identify three SDOH pathways for the analysis of NAFTA: employment (with respect to income and economic insecurity), regulation (with respect to occupational safety and environmental health), and agricultural commerce (with respect to food insecurity and sovereignty). By analyzing the intended impacts of NAFTA and Mexican policies, the quantitative primary, and the qualitative secondary data of the actual outcomes, I find that NAFTA’s impact on SDOH was incredibly nuanced.

Copyright Date


Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Maria Trubetskaya


Received from author

File Format



English (eng)


96 pgs

File Size

1.0 MB