Regulatory Frameworks and Development in the North American Auto Industry

  • Stephen Herzenberg
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


A full account of the social and economic consequences of the restructuring of the North American auto industry requires raising the analytical focus above work reorganization in individual plants and companies (and even assembly companies taken as a group) to development in the industry as a whole. This sectoral perspective suggests that two distinct patterns of development could result from economic integration of the United States and Canadian auto industries with that of Mexico.2 In one scenario, the auto industry would enjoy rapid productivity growth and help develop and deploy new technology, providing a positive example of workforce skill development, cooperation between assemblers and suppliers, and of organizational practice generally. In another scenario, high productivity, new technology and human resource development would be confined to portions of the operations of major assembly companies and first-tier suppliers. Even in these industry segments, the weakness of worker representation and high levels of work intensity would place limits on worker commitment to corporate goals. Outside the industry core, competition would be driven more by a search for low-wage, non-union workers.


North American Free Trade Agreement Auto Industry Auto Part Canadian Auto Worker Short Work Time 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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  • Stephen Herzenberg

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