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Mexico: The Future of the Economy
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > The Future of the Economy


The market-oriented structural reforms of the 1980s and early 1990s transformed Mexico's economy from a highly protectionist, public-sector-dominated system to a generally open, deregulated "emerging market." President Salinas's moves to privatize and deregulate large sectors of the Mexican economy elicited widespread support from international investors and the advanced industrial nations. With its positive effect on trade and capital flows, NAFTA was widely interpreted by Mexican decision makers as a validation of their market-oriented economic policies. The currency collapse of December 1994 and the ensuing deep recession, however, erased the economic gains that Mexico had achieved in previous years, shook the nation's political stability, and depressed hopes for an early return to growth.

Although Mexico remained in a difficult economic condition in mid-1996, the worst of the recession had passed and the country appeared headed toward recovery. The economy registered positive growth in the second quarter of 1996, inflation and interest rates abated, and portfolio investment returned, as reflected in Mexico's rising stock exchange index. Despite continuing problems exacerbated by low investor confidence, analysts agreed that Mexico's economy in the mid-1990s was fundamentally sound and capable of long-term expansion.Mexico's postwar economic growth and development policies are reviewed in James M. Cypher's State and Capital in Mexico, Roger Hansen's The Politics of Mexican Development, and Clark W. Reynolds's The Mexican Economy . The best examinations of Mexican economic policy during the 1970s and 1980s are John Sheahan's Conflict and Change in Mexican Economic Strategy and Nora Lustig's Mexico: The Remaking of an Economy . Denise Dresser's Neopopulist Solutions to Neoliberal Problems: Mexico's National Solidarity Program offers an in-depth analysis of the structure and political implications of Pronasol, the Salinas administration's major anti-poverty program.

The United States Department of Agriculture maintains extensive statistical data on a variety of Mexican agricultural products, and its annual reports on various crops provide detailed information on specific sectors. Among the best treatments of Mexico's agricultural policy are the volume edited by James Austin and Gustavo Esteva, Food Policy in Mexico, and Steven Sanderson's The Transformation of Mexican Agriculture . Government-business relations are examined in Roderic A. Camp's Entrepreneurs and Politics in Twentieth-Century Mexico and The Government and Private Sector in Contemporary Mexico, edited by Sylvia Maxfield and Ricardo Anzaldua.

The United States Department of Energy's International Energy Annual provides statistical data on Mexican oil production and reserves. Petroleum policy is examined in Judith Gentleman's Mexican Oil and Dependent Development and Laura Randall's The Political Economy of Mexican Oil . Among the best examinations of Mexico's international economic relations are David Barkin's Distorted Development and Van R. Whiting, Jr.'s The Political Economy of Foreign Investment in Mexico . (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of June 1996

Last Updated: June 1996

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Mexico was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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