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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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    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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