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Why have economic reforms in Mexico not generated growth?

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  • Timothy J. Kehoe
  • Kim J. Ruhl

Abstract

Following its opening to trade and foreign investment in the mid-1980s, Mexico’s economic growth has been modest at best, particularly in comparison with that of China. Comparing these countries and reviewing the literature, we conclude that the relation between openness and growth is not a simple one. Using standard trade theory, we find that Mexico has gained from trade, and by some measures, more so than China. We sketch out a theory in which developing countries can grow faster than the United States by reforming. As a country becomes richer, this sort of catch-up becomes more difficult. Absent continuing reforms, Chinese growth is likely to slow down sharply, perhaps leaving China at a level less than Mexico’s real GDP per working-age person.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2010. "Why have economic reforms in Mexico not generated growth?," Staff Report 453, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:453
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    Cited by:

    1. Colantone, Italo & Crinò, Rosario, 2014. "New imported inputs, new domestic products," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 147-165.
    2. Timothy Kehoe & Felipe Meza, 2011. "Catch-up Growth Followed by Stagnation: Mexico 1950–2008," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 48(2), pages 227-268.
    3. Blecker, Robert A. & Ibarra, Carlos A., 2013. "Trade liberalization and the balance of payments constraint with intermediate imports: The case of Mexico revisited," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 33-47.
    4. Susanto Basu & Luigi Pascali & Fabio Schiantarelli & Luis Serven, 2012. "Productivity and the welfare of nations," Economics Working Papers 1312, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    5. Syvertsen, Jennifer L. & Robertson, Angela M. & Rolón, María Luisa & Palinkas, Lawrence A. & Martinez, Gustavo & Rangel, M. Gudelia & Strathdee, Steffanie A., 2013. "“Eyes that don't see, heart that doesn't feel”: Coping with sex work in intimate relationships and its implications for HIV/STI prevention," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-8.
    6. Yi, Kei-Mu & Jiang, Jingyi, 2015. "How Rich Will China Become?," Economic Policy Paper 15-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    7. repec:eee:streco:v:41:y:2017:i:c:p:53-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Carlos A. Ibarra & Robert A. Blecker, 2016. "Structural change, the real exchange rate and the balance of payments in Mexico, 1960–2012," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(2), pages 507-539.
    9. Murat Ungor, 2017. "Productivity Growth and Labor Reallocation: Latin America versus East Asia," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 24, pages 25-42, March.
    10. Claudia Sánchez-Vela & Jorge N. Valero-Gil, 2011. "The Effect of Firm-Size Dependent Policies on the Economy: The Case of the Repecos Law in Mexico," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4549, Inter-American Development Bank.
    11. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2012. "Schooling, educational achievement, and the Latin American growth puzzle," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 497-512.
    12. Nezih Guner & Andrii Parkhomenko & Gustavo Ventura, . "Managers and Productivity Differences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Timothy J. Kehoe & Felipe Meza, 2011. "Catch-up growth followed by stagnation: Mexico, 1950–2010," Working Papers 693, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    14. Kehoe, Timothy J. & Costa, Daniela & Raveendranathan, Gajen, 2016. "The Stages of Economic Growth Revisited: Part 1: A General Framework and Taking Off into Growth," Economic Policy Paper 16-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    15. Desmet, Klaus & Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban, 2014. "Analyzing urban systems : have megacities become too large ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6872, The World Bank.
    16. Barry Eichengreen & Donghyun Park & Kwanho Shin, 2012. "When Fast-Growing Economies Slow Down: International Evidence and Implications for China," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 11(1), pages 42-87, Winter/Sp.
    17. Ariel Burstein & Javier Cravino, 2015. "Measured Aggregate Gains from International Trade," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 181-218, April.
    18. Xiaodong Zhu, 2012. "Understanding China's Growth: Past, Present, and Future," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 103-124, Fall.
    19. 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.
    20. Susanto Basu & Luigi Pascali & Fabio Schiantarelli & Luis Serven, 2012. "Productivity and the Welfare of Nations," Working Papers 621, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    21. Foellmi, Reto & Oechslin, Manuel, 2012. "Globalization and Productivity in the Developing World," Economics Working Paper Series 1203, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    22. Kehoe, Timothy J. & Costa, Daniela & Raveendranathan, Gajen, 2016. "The Stages of Economic Growth Revisited, Part 2: Catching Up to and Joining the Economic Leader," Economic Policy Paper 16-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    23. 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.

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    JEL classification:

    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies

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