IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Why Have Economic Reforms in Mexico Not Generated Growth?

  • Timothy J. Kehoe
  • Kim J. Ruhl

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16580.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2010. "Why Have Economic Reforms in Mexico Not Generated Growth?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1005-27, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16580
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2013. "How Important Is the New Goods Margin in International Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(2), pages 358 - 392.
  2. Claustra Bajona & Tianshu Chu, 2009. "Data Appendix to "Reforming the State-Owned Enterprises in China: Effects of WTO Accession"," Technical Appendices 06-12, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  3. Timothy J. Kehoe & Edward C. Prescott(), 2007. "Great depressions of the twentieth century," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, number 2007gdott.
  4. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2004. "Globalization and the gains from variety," Staff Reports 180, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2007. "Are shocks to the terms of trade shocks to productivity?," Staff Report 391, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Rodrik, Dani & Subramanian, Arvind & Trebbi, Francesco, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 3643, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Rawski, Thomas G, 1994. "Chinese Industrial Reform: Accomplishments, Prospects, and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 271-75, May.
  8. Gueorgui Kambourov, 2009. "Labour Market Regulations and the Sectoral Reallocation of Workers: The Case of Trade Reforms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1321-1358.
  9. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306, June.
  10. International Monetary Fund, 2004. "Once Again, is Openness Good for Growth?," IMF Working Papers 04/135, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Harrison, Ann, 1996. "Openness and growth: A time-series, cross-country analysis for developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 419-447, March.
  12. Loren Brandt & Xiaodong Zhu, 2010. "Accounting for China's Growth," Working Papers tecipa-394, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  13. Edward Prescott & Ellen McGrattan, 2008. "Openness, Technology Capital, and Development," 2008 Meeting Papers 111, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Holmes, Thomas J. & Jr., James A. Schmitz, 2001. "A gain from trade: From unproductive to productive entrepreneurship," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 417-446, April.
  15. David N. DeJong & Marla Ripoll, 2006. "Tariffs and Growth: An Empirical Exploration of Contingent Relationships," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 625-640, November.
  16. James A. Schmitz Jr., 2005. "What Determines Productivity? Lessons from the Dramatic Recovery of the U.S. and Canadian Iron Ore Industries Following Their Early 1980s Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 582-625, June.
  17. Edwards, Sebastian, 1989. "Openness, outward orientation, trade liberalization, and economic performance in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 191, The World Bank.
  18. Nora Lustig, 2001. "Life Is Not Easy: Mexico's Quest for Stability and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 85-106, Winter.
  19. Song, Zheng Michael & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2009. "Growing like China," CEPR Discussion Papers 7149, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Borders and Growth," NBER Working Papers 9223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Enrico Spolaore & Alberto Alesina & Romain Wacziarg, 2000. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1276-1296, December.
  22. Robert C. Feenstra & Benjamin R. Mandel & Marshall B. Reinsdorf & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2009. "Effects of Terms of Trade Gains and Tariff Changes on the Measurement of U.S. Productivity Growth," NBER Working Papers 15592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Rivera-Batiz, Luis A & Romer, Paul M, 1991. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 531-55, May.
  24. Raphael Bergoeing & Patrick J. Kehoe & Timothy J. Kehoe & Raimundo Soto, 2001. "A Decade Lost and Found: Mexico and Chile in the 1980s," Documentos de Trabajo 110, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  25. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2009. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," NBER Working Papers 15628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Steve Dowrick & Jane Golley, 2004. "Trade Openness and Growth: Who Benefits?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 38-56, Spring.
  27. David K. Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Timothy J. Kehoe, 1992. "In search of scale effects in trade and growth," Staff Report 152, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  28. Natalia Ramondo & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2009. "Trade, Multinational Production, and the Gains from Openness," NBER Working Papers 15604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Guariglia, Alessandra & Poncet, Sandra, 2008. "Could financial distortions be no impediment to economic growth after all? Evidence from China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 633-657, December.
  30. Romain Wacziarg & Karen Horn Welch, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 187-231, June.
  31. Anne Krueger & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Role of Bank Restructuring in Recovering from Crises: Mexico 1995-98," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1872, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  32. Timothy Kehoe & Edward Prescott, 2002. "Data Appendix to Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century," Technical Appendices kehoe02, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  33. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim Ruhl, 2008. "Data Appendix to "Are Shocks to the Terms of Trade Shocks to Productivity?"," Technical Appendices 07-40, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  34. Alessandra Guariglia & Sandra Poncet, 2008. "Could financial distortions be no impediment to economic growth after all? Evidence from China," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00649295, HAL.
  35. Christian Broda & Joshua Greenfield & David Weinstein, 2006. "From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimate of Trade and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Timothy J. Kehoe & Mark J. Gibson & Kim J. Ruhl & Claustre Bajona, 2008. "Trade liberalization growth and productivity," 2008 Meeting Papers 789, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  37. Yanikkaya, Halit, 2003. "Trade openness and economic growth: a cross-country empirical investigation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 57-89, October.
  38. Timothy J. Kehoe, 1992. "Modeling the dynamic impact of North American free trade," Working Papers 491, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  39. Aaron Tornell & Frank Westermann & Lorenza Martinez, 2003. "Liberalization, Growth, and Financial Crises: Lessons from Mexico and the Developing World," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 1-112.
  40. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16580. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.