WIDER Discussion Papers // World Institute for Development Economics (UNU-WIDER) 2003/60
The paper analyses the impact trade liberalization and economic integration have had on regional growth and regional disparities in Mexico over the last two decades. It is highlighted that the passage from an import substitution system to membership of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) first, and to economic integration in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) later, has been associated with greater concentration of economic activity and territorial polarization. The analysis also shows that these changes herald a period of transition between two growth models. Regional growth in the final stages of the import substitution period was mainly characterized by convergence and linked to the presence of oil and raw materials and proximity to Mexico City. Economic liberalization and regional integration in NAFTA has been related to regional divergence, a reduction of the importance of Mexico City as the main market and to the emergence of an economic system in which the endowment of skilled labour starts to play a more important role.