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Building State Capacity: Reforming Mexican State Food Aid Programmes in the 1990 s


  • Kenneth Mitchell


Recent studies of state food aid to poor households in Mexico by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Food First point to a rare case of successful second-generation reform in the social sector. This article analyses a critical juncture at the start of the 1990 s in which policy-makers predisposed to reform gained an upper hand and over time improved state capacity in an area in which prolific corruption, middle class and urban favouritism and pervasive partisan clientelism reigned for decades. Across Latin America, crisis-inspired state downsizing (“first-generation reform”) has given way to a desire to build state capacity (“second-generation reform”). To date, the regional record is mixed; however, one thing is certain, the context for first-generation reform—macroeconomic instability and foreign lender conditionality—offers an unsatisfactory guide to why and under what circumstances governments embrace, delay or reject second-generation reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Mitchell, 2005. "Building State Capacity: Reforming Mexican State Food Aid Programmes in the 1990 s," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(3-4), pages 377-389.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:33:y:2005:i:3-4:p:377-389
    DOI: 10.1080/13600810500199194

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