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Why Isn't Mexico Rich?

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  • Gordon H. Hanson

Abstract

Over the last three decades, Mexico has aggressively reformed its economy, opening to foreign trade and investment, achieving fiscal discipline, and privatizing state owned enterprises. Despite these efforts, the country’s economic growth has been lackluster, trailing that of many other developing nations. In this paper, I review arguments for why Mexico hasn’t sustained higher rates of economic growth. The most prominent suggest that some combination of poorly functioning credit markets, distortions in the supply of non-traded inputs, and perverse incentives for informality creates a drag on productivity growth. These are factors internal to Mexico. One possible external factor is that the country has the bad luck of exporting goods that China sells, rather than goods that China buys. I assess evidence from recent literature on these arguments and suggest directions for future research.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16470.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16470

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  1. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2007. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," NBER Working Papers 13290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. World Bank, 2010. "World Development Indicators 2010," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4373, January.
  3. Reint Gropp & John Karl Scholz & Michelle White, 1996. "Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand," NBER Working Papers 5653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Haber, Stephen H., 1991. "Industrial Concentration and the Capital Markets: A Comparative Study of Brazil, Mexico, and the United States, 1830–1930," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(03), pages 559-580, September.
  5. Raphael Bergoeing & Patrick J. Kehoe & Timothy J. Kehoe & Raimundo Soto, 2001. "A Decade Lost and Found: Mexico and Chile in the 1980s," Documentos de Trabajo 110, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  6. Cole, Harold L. & Ohanian, Lee E. & Riascos, Alvaro & Schmitz, James Jr, 2005. "Latin America in the rearview mirror," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 69-107, January.
  7. Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Emigration and wages in source countries: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 180-199, January.
  8. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2004. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 10198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Aaron Tornell & Frank Westermann & Lorenza Martinez, 2004. "NAFTA and Mexico's Less-Than-Stellar Performance," NBER Working Papers 10289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Laura Juarez, 2008. "Are Informal Workers Compensated for the Lack of Fringe Benefits? Free Health Care as an Instrument for Formality," Working Papers 0804, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
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  12. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond Robertson, 2008. "China and the Manufacturing Exports of Other Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 14497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Daniel Chiquiar & Manuel Ramos Francia, 2009. "Competitiveness and Growth of the Mexican Economy," Working Papers 2009-11, Banco de México.
  15. Irene Brambilla & Amit K. Khandelwal & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "China's Experience under the Multi-Fiber Arrangement (MFA) and the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC)," NBER Chapters, in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 345-387 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 239-281, April.
  18. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2011. "Can migration reduce educational attainment? Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 1331-1358, October.
  19. Sebastian Edwards, 2009. "Latin America's Decline: A Long Historical View," NBER Working Papers 15171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 2005. "Financial and Legal Constraints to Growth: Does Firm Size Matter?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 137-177, 02.
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  24. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-84, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Carrasco, Carlos A., 2013. "El Nuevo Consenso Macroeconómico y la mediocridad del crecimiento económico en México
    [New Consensus Macroeconomics and the mediocrity of economic growth in Mexico]
    ," MPRA Paper 53391, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Abramitzky, Ran & Boustan, Leah Platt & Eriksson, Katherine, 2013. "Have the poor always been less likely to migrate? Evidence from inheritance practices during the age of mass migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 2-14.
  3. Filho, Irineu de Carvalho & Chamon, Marcos, 2012. "The myth of post-reform income stagnation: Evidence from Brazil and Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 368-386.
  4. Michael King, 2012. "The Unbanked Four-Fifths: Informality and Barriers to Financial Services in Nigeria," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp411, IIIS.
  5. Andrei A Levchenko & Jing Zhang, 2013. "The Global Labor Market Impact of Emerging Giants: A Quantitative Assessment," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 61(3), pages 479-519, August.
  6. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2012. "Schooling, educational achievement, and the Latin American growth puzzle," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 497-512.

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