The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper examines the effect of the major Canada-U.S. trade agreements on the dynamics of business cycles and productivity in Canada. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its predecessor, the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA), have led to a substantial expansion of trade flows. Although common factors have played a larger role in explaining business cycles in Canada and the United States since the early 1980s, country-specific and idiosyncratic factors remain important for Canada. At the same time, while increased trade integration seems to have positively contributed to total factor productivity of Canadian industries, the persistence of structural differences between the two countries has prevented convergence of aggregate labor productivity. While these findings seem to weigh against moving toward a monetary union, they also suggest that substantial benefits could be reaped from further reducing remaining barriers to trade.