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Mexico's Presidential Election: Background on Economic Issues

  • Economics
  • Political Science


Mexico's Presidential Election: Background on Economic Issues Issue Brief • June 2006 Center for Economic and Policy Research 1611 Connecticut Ave, NW Suite 400 Washington, DC 20009 tel: 202-293-5380 fax:: 202-588-1356 Mexico’s Presidential Election: Background on Economic Issues BY MARK WEISBROT AND LUIS SANDOVAL Introduction Mexico’s presidential election on July 2 is seen by many as an important choice. The two front runners, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa of the conservative PAN (National Action Party) – the party of the current President Vicente Fox – and Andres Manuel López Obrador of the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution), have offered competing views of what is needed in order to advance economic and social progress. Calderón and the PAN have emphasized the government’s achievements with regard to economic stability, low inflation, and attractiveness to foreign investors, arguing that the country should continue along the path of reforms implemented over the last 25 years and by the previous administration1. López Obrador and the left-of-center PRD have focused on poverty, advocating a greater government role to help the poor, redistribute income, invest in infrastructure and create employment. This issue brief will look at some of the most important economic issues facing Mexico, as background for the election. Long-Term Economic Problems Figure 1 highlights what economists would consider the most important long-term economic problem facing Mexico: the sharp slowdown in economic growth since 1980. From 1960 to 1980, Mexico experienced healthy economic growth, and GDP (or income) per person2 grew by 99 percent. From 1980 to 2000, it grew by only 15 percent. For the first half of the current decade, it has grown by a total of just 2 percent. Mark Weisbrot is co-director and Luis Sandoval is a research assistant at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Dean Baker provided useful comments, and Carl

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