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Did NAFTA Help Mexico? An Assessment After 20 Years

Author

Listed:
  • Mark Weisbrot
  • Stephan Lefebvre
  • Joseph Sammut

Abstract

This paper compares the performance of the Mexican economy with that of the rest of the region over the past 20 years, based on the available economic and social indicators, and with its own past economic performance. Among the results it finds that Mexico ranks 18th out of 20 Latin American countries in growth of real GDP per person, the most basic economic measure of living standards; Mexico’s poverty rate of in 2012 was almost identical to the poverty rate of 1994; real (inflation-adjusted) wages for Mexico were almost the same in 2012 as in 1994; and unemployment has increased significantly. It also notes that if NAFTA had been successful in restoring Mexico’s pre-1980 growth rate – when developmentalist economic policies were the norm – Mexico today would be a relatively high income country, with income per person significantly higher than that of Portugal or Greece. It is unlikely that immigration reform would be a major political issue in the United States, since relatively few Mexicans would seek to cross the border.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Weisbrot & Stephan Lefebvre & Joseph Sammut, 2014. "Did NAFTA Help Mexico? An Assessment After 20 Years," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2014-03, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  • Handle: RePEc:epo:papers:2014-03
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    File URL: http://www.cepr.net/documents/nafta-20-years-2014-02.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    2. John Scott-Andretta, 2010. "The Incidence of Agricultural Subsidies in Mexico," Working papers DTE 473, CIDE, División de Economía.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. George A. Dyer & Alan Hernández-Solano & Pablo Meza-Pale & Héctor Robles-Berlanga & Antonio Yúnez-Naude, 2018. "Mexican agriculture and policy under NAFTA," Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios Económicos 2018-04, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos.
    2. Fernando Riosmena & Raphael Nawrotzki & Lori Hunter, 2018. "Climate Migration at the Height and End of the Great Mexican Emigration Era," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 44(3), pages 455-488, September.
    3. David Rosnick & Mark Weisbrot, 2014. "Latin American Growth in the 21st Century: The 'Commodities Boom' That Wasn't," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2014-09, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    4. Torre Cepeda, Leonardo E. & Ramos, Luis Fernando Colunga, 2015. "Patterns of TFP growth in Mexico: 1991–2011," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 398-420.
    5. Torre Cepeda Leonardo E. & Colunga Ramos Luis Fernando, 2015. "Patterns of Total Factor Productivity Growth in Mexico: 1991-2011," Working Papers 2015-24, Banco de México.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    mexico; nafta; trade; poverty; employment; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • F - International Economics
    • F5 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment

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