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The biophysical perspective of a middle income economy: Material Flows in Mexico

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Author Info

  • Ana Citlalic Gonzalez-Martinez

    (Departament d'Economia i d'Història Econòmica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Heinz Schandl

    (CSIRO, Sustainable Ecosystems)

Abstract

We analyse natural resource use dynamics in the Mexican economy during the last three decades. Despite low and uneven economic growth, the extraction and use of materials in the Mexican economy has continuously increased during the last 30 years. In this period, population growth rather than economic growth was the main driving force for biophysical growth. In addition, fundamental changes have taken place in the primary sectors, in manufacturing, and in household consumption and these are reflected in an increasing emphasis on the use of fossil fuels and construction materials. Mexico’s economy has been strongly influenced by international trade since the country commenced competing in international markets. In the 1970s, Mexico mainly exported primary resources. This pattern has changed and manufactured goods now have a much greater importance due to a boom in assembling industries. In contrast with other Latin American countries, Mexico has achieved a diversification of production, moving towards technology-intensive products and a better mix in its export portfolio. However, crude oil exports still represent the single most important export good. Mexico’s material consumption is still well below the OECD average but is growing fast and the current resource use patterns may well present serious social and environmental problems to the medium and long term sustainability of Mexico’s economy and community. Information on natural resource use and resource productivity could provide valuable guidance for economic policy planning in Mexico.

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Paper provided by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica in its series UHE Working papers with number 2007_10.

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Length: 25 pages
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Handle: RePEc:aub:uhewps:2007_10

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Keywords: Natural resources; resource use patterns and dynamics; physical accounting; material flows; resource use efficiency; Mexico;

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References

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  1. Ana Citlalic González Martínez, 2007. "Material Flow Accounting of Mexico (1970-2003). Sources and Methods," UHE Working papers 2007_01, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica.
  2. Stern , David I., 1998. "Progress on the environmental Kuznets curve?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 173-196, May.
  3. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 1999. "The big push, natural resource booms and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 43-76, June.
  4. Aguayo, Francisco & Gallagher, Kevin P., 2005. "Economic reform, energy, and development: the case of Mexican manufacturing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 829-837, May.
  5. Weisz, Helga & Krausmann, Fridolin & Amann, Christof & Eisenmenger, Nina & Erb, Karl-Heinz & Hubacek, Klaus & Fischer-Kowalski, Marina, 2006. "The physical economy of the European Union: Cross-country comparison and determinants of material consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 676-698, July.
  6. Perez-Rincon, Mario Alejandro, 2006. "Colombian international trade from a physical perspective: Towards an ecological "Prebisch thesis"," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 519-529, October.
  7. Gately, Mark, 2007. "The EROI of U.S. offshore energy extraction: A net energy analysis of the Gulf of Mexico," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2-3), pages 355-364, August.
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Cited by:
  1. West, James & Schandl, Heinz, 2013. "Material use and material efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 19-27.
  2. Muñoz, Pablo & Strohmaier, Rita & Roca, Jordi, 2011. "On the North-South trade in the Americas and its ecological asymmetries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1981-1990, September.
  3. Valeria Andreoni, 2010. "Material Flows Accounting: A Biophysical Approach to Macroeconomic Sustainability," Transition Studies Review, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 217-228, May.
  4. Vallejo, Maria Cristina, 2010. "Biophysical structure of the Ecuadorian economy, foreign trade, and policy implications," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 159-169, December.
  5. Krausmann, Fridolin & Gingrich, Simone & Eisenmenger, Nina & Erb, Karl-Heinz & Haberl, Helmut & Fischer-Kowalski, Marina, 2009. "Growth in global materials use, GDP and population during the 20th century," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2696-2705, August.
  6. Marina Fischer-Kowalski & Dominik Wiedenhofer & Willi Haas & Irene Pallua & Daniel Hausknost, 2013. "Developing Resource use Scenarios for Europe," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 25, WWWforEurope.
  7. Steinberger, Julia K. & Krausmann, Fridolin & Eisenmenger, Nina, 2010. "Global patterns of materials use: A socioeconomic and geophysical analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 1148-1158, March.

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