Mexico Competitiveness

New Report Analyzes Strengths and Weaknesses of Mexican Economy

June 30, 2009
by Doug Gavel, Harvard Kennedy School

The key strengths and weaknesses of Mexico’s economic landscape are explored in a comprehensive new report co-produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Harvard’s Center for International Development (CID). The Mexico Competitiveness Report 2009 was released in late June at a workshop in Mexico City attended by several top-level government officials, including Mexican President Felipe Calderón MPA/MC 2000.

The report contains chapters written by CID faculty affiliates, including Ricardo Hausmann, CID Director and professor of the practice of economic development, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), who co-edited the document with WEF’s Emilio Lozoya Austin, MPA-ID 2003. Key contributions by Harvard authors include growth diagnostics by Hausmann and postdoctoral fellow Bailey Klinger; effects of climate change by Jeffrey Frankel, James W. Harpel professor of capital formation and growth, HKS; NAFTA and its ongoing impacts by Robert Lawrence, Albert L. Williams professor of international trade and investment, HKS; small and medium firm lending, co-authored by Ramana Nanda, Harvard Business School; and education by Lant Pritchett, professor of the practice of international development, HKS, and postdoctoral fellow Martina Viarengo. Findings are expected to influence public discussions in Mexico on economic growth policy.

"Mexico has made significant progress in a number of areas such as fiscal solvency, monetary credibility, openness, and financial stability,” said Hausmann. “It also possesses sophisticated export products and many other potential new activities. However, to make use of these opportunities, the country needs to address microeconomic obstacles that currently limit its competitiveness. This can only happen through a public-private dialogue to give more effective marching orders to thousands of government agencies and to improve on the often cumbersome legislation.”

The report comes at a critical time for Mexico, with the federal government having committed to a sweeping national reform agenda intent on improving economic growth and improving the lives of all of its citizens. The report was widely covered in the Mexican press, with the workshop attended by 150 CEOs from more than 90 percent of the top companies and 11 government ministers and vice ministers, according to Lozoya, WEF’s Latin America Director.