Corn Market Integration in Porfirian Mexico
This paper deals with a polemic and relevant aspect of the economic history of Porfirian Mexico: the integration of agricultural domestic markets. Since corn was the staple product of the commercial agricultural sector and also the main subsistence crop, it is the protagonist of this story. Panel techniques, similar to those used by Barro and Sala-i-Martín (1992), are applied to a price convergence model. Our analysis reveals that Mexico was not an exception in the international panorama of market integration in late 19th and early 20th centuries [O’Rourke and Williamson (1999)]. Although still incomplete on the eve of the Mexican Revolution, corn market integration substantially increased during the Porfiriato and ended up further than estimated by Kuntz (1995a, 1995b, 1996, 1999a and 1999b). Railroads were not only indispensable to the economic growth of Mexico, as Coatsworth (1984) showed, in particular to the export sector, but they also played a positive and significant role in the process of corn market integration.
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