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Political Institutions, Policymaking Processes, and Policy Outcomes in Mexico

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  • Fabrice Lehoucq
  • Gabriel Negretto
  • Francisco Aparicio
  • Benito Nacif
  • Allyson Benton

Abstract

This paper uses a transaction-costs framework to link the policymaking process (PMP) and the outer features of public policies in Mexico, a middle-income developing country. It shows how a highly secretive PMP, centralized around the presidency, fashioned nationalist policies that were stable, adaptable, coordinated and private-regarding for the urban-based corporatist pillars of the regime. When growth faltered in the late 1970s, however, this PMP was unable to adapt to economic volatility, although it remained dominant in an increasingly turbulent polity. The paper explains how unified government and corporatist control of the economy made a constitutionally weak president the envy of executives around the world, even at the cost of being unable to enact reforms with short-term costs for the corporatist pillars of the regime. The article also explains why democratization in the 1990s is giving rise to a less centralized and more open PMP that benefits larger shares of the population. As the separation of powers enshrined in the 1917 constitution materializes, policymaking is increasingly wedded to the status quo. On the one hand, divided government preserves a macroeconomic framework consistent with an open economy (such as fiscally sound policies and a floating exchange rate). On the other, checks and balances are helping old and new parties and interest groups to veto agreement on the raising of chronically low tax rates (at 10 percent of GDP) and on reforming nationalist policies that limit private sector investment in the state-controlled energy sector.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3204.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3204

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  1. Matthews, Steven A, 1989. "Veto Threats: Rhetoric in a Bargaining Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 347-69, May.
  2. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andre Shleifer, 2000. "The Regulation of Entry," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1904, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Bénédicte Larre & Marcos Bonturi, 2001. "Public Spending in Mexico: How to Enhance Its Effectiveness," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 288, OECD Publishing.
  4. Rauch, James E & Evans, Peter B., 1999. "Bureaucratic Structure and Bureaucratic Performance in Less Developed Countries," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0sb0w38d, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  5. Ramseyer, J Mark, 1994. "The Puzzling (In)dependence of Courts: A Comparative Approach," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 721-47, June.
  6. Thomas Dalsgaard, 2000. "The Tax System in Mexico: A Need for Strengthening the Revenue-Raising Capacity," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 233, OECD Publishing.
  7. Castaneda, Gonzalo, 1995. "The political economy of Mexico, 1940-1988: A game theoretical view," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 291-316, June.
  8. Mariano Tommasi & Matias Iaryczower & Pablo T. Spiller, 2002. "Judicial Decision Making in Unstable Environments, Argentina 1935-1998," Working Papers 30, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Oct 2002.
  9. Mariano Tommasi & Pablo T. Spiller & Ernesto Stein, 2003. "Political Institutions, Policymaking Processes, and Policy Outcomes. An Intertemporal Transactions Framework," Working Papers 59, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Jul 2003.
  10. Gil-Diaz, Francisco & Carstens, Agustin, 1996. "One Year of Solitude: Some Pilgrim Tales about Mexico's 1994-1995 Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 164-69, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Mariano Tommasi & Alvaro Forteza & German Herrera, 2005. "Understanding Reform in Latin America," Working Papers 88, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Dec 2005.
  2. Manuel Palma-Rangel, 2006. "Institutions and development in Mexico. Are formal economic reforms enough?," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 21(2), pages 83-103, December.

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