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Trade, Growth, and Inequality in the United States

This study focuses on evaluating trade policy for the United States. Its goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of neoliberal, free trade policy on the economic situation of the United States. The prevailing defense behind this neoliberal, free trade policy is centered around the idea that free trade will always benefit countries and its potential damaging effects are very minimal and countries are very likely to quickly readjust and bounce back from any disadvantage caused by the effects of free trade policies. This paper will challenge this assumption. It will do so by focusing on economic indicators like GDP growth along with other factors like the GINI index, as I am to measure neoliberal trade policies effects on growth along with income inequality. It aims to also find the very best way to evaluate trade in the United States. Initially, it will detail and lay out a statistical analysis of the United States economic situation before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which was a massive milestone involving the liberalization of trade in the United States. It will discuss the results of this study but ultimately conclude that this simple statistical study cannot accurately capture and represent the complexity of this situation. This paper will therefore lay out the roadmap for a much more, detailed and specific study that can be explored in the future.