The so-called new institutional economics (NIE) has generated important insights in a range of fields including transactions cost economics, property rights law, and economic development. However, the majority of the literature in this field has focused on microeconomic institutions and their impact on economic decision making. Very little of it has attempted to apply the lessons of NIE to broader macroeconomic contexts or to international relations generally. The purpose of this article is to try and apply some of the insights of the NIE to recent events in North American economic integration, and suggest how the NIE could be employed to better understand the impact institutional changes to security since September 11, 2001 are having on economic decision-makers and patterns of North American integration.
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