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Industrial structure and economic complementarities in city pairs on the Texas-Mexico border

  • Robert W. Gilmer
  • Jesus Cañas

The U.S.–Mexico border provides a number of examples of pairs of neighboring cities, one in the U.S. and the other in Mexico. The advent of the North American Industrial Classification System provides a new opportunity to look at these cities using a common industrial classification system. Using U.S. data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis, and comparable information from the 1999 Mexican economic census, we were able to compare employment by industry sector in city pairs that are located along the Texas–Mexico border: El Paso–Juarez, Laredo–Nuevo Laredo, Brownsville–Matamoros, and McAllen–Reynosa. ; This paper focuses on the distribution of employment in border city pairs. It is primarily descriptive in nature, but looks at industrial structure from several perspectives. First, we look at each city as part of its own national economy, then as part of the combined U.S.–Mexico economy. Second, we demonstrate that each city-pair has a distribution of employment by industry that complements the sister city. Different wage levels, distinct legal and regulatory systems and unlike stages of development provide each city with unique opportunities to specialize in the local marketplace. Finally, we interpret the role of these cities as part of a combined US-Mexico economy. The chief economic role played by all city-pairs is that of a manufacturing center, driven largely by maquiladora activity and its support industries.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Working Papers with number 0503.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddwp:05-03
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  1. Arthur Silvers, 2000. "Limited Linkage, Demand Shifts and the Transboundary Transmission of Regional Growth," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 239-251.
  2. Jesus Canas & Roberto Coronado & Bill Gilmer, 2004. "Maquilador downturn: structural change or cyclical factors?," Business Frontier, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  3. repec:brs:ecchap:02 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Robert W. Gilmer & Matthew Gurch & Thomas Wang, 2001. "Texas border cities : an income growth perspective," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, number 2001tbcaig.
  5. Keith Phillips & Carlos Manzanares, 2001. "Transportation infrastructure and the border economy," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, number 2001tiatb.
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