Volume 43, Number 171,
October-December 2012
Maquiladora Factories and Household
Income in Yucatan1
Javier Becerril*, Rafael Ortiz** and Lilian Albornoz ***
Date submitted: September 25, 2011. Date accepted: May 2, 2012

This study examines the effect of the maquiladora export industry (mei) on total net annual household income for rural zones of the old Henequenera region of Yucatán. This analysis uses the Propensity Score Matching approach and cross-sectional data from 1,123 inhabitants that make up 247 households in four municipalities: Cuzamá, Homún, Acanceh and Huhí. The findings reveal a strong and significant positive impact on the total annual income of inhabitants working for the mei in the rural region of Yucatan. Specifically, there is a positive difference that ranges from $8,419 to $9,449 Mexican pesos annually between inhabitants that work for a maquiladora factory and those that work in any other type of activity within or outside of the territory.

Keywords: maya, rural, Yucatán, maquila, income, Propensity Score-Matching.

Commitment to regional economic development has encouraged governments in these countries to adopt policies that promote employment, reduce poverty and make the internal and external markets more dynamic. Mexico is not exempt from this commitment to regional economic development. As such, multiple mechanisms have been implemented on different scales to promote internal and external investment with an eye on creating jobs, mitigating migration and alleviating poverty. The maquiladora export industry2 (mei) has been an important mechanism in Mexico’s industrialization process (Trívez, Reyes and Aliaga, 2007; Gómez, 2004). The mei is still one of the strategic sectors propping up much of the country and states’ economies.

Much literature has been written on the topic of the Mexican mei, from diverse economic perspectives such as the social sciences. Much of this research describes historical aspects of the surge of the maquiladora industry, the public policies that favored it and its evolution and expansion from the border states in the north of Mexico to other regions and states (Sklair, 1993; Wilson, 1992; Castilla and Torres, 2009; Warden, 2000). Some of this research has been specific case studies, focused on salaries or the social lives of workers at the maquiladora factories (Carrillo and Hualde, 1997; Gómez, 2004; García et al., 2009). Others focus on gender, sociology and related disciplines (Castilla and Torres, 2009; Taylor, 2010; Veloz, 2010). Although many studies on this topic have made important contributions from a variety of perspectives, there is still an absence of research explicitly focused on analyzing the economic impact, besides Biles (2004), who analyzes how maquiladora factories impact economic growth in certain regions of Yucatán by distribution of income on a macroeconomic level.

1 The authors would like to thank all residents that responded to the household surveys, as well as those who conducted the survey and participated in the research project in stages 2A and 2B: Carolina Solís Flores, Carlos Eduardo Robleda Chávez, Jesús Filemón Hernández Santoyo and Omar Antonio Burgos Maldonado, as well as the project sponsors: precesam, from the Center for Economic Studies at Colegio de México, a.c.; the rimisp Latin American Center for Rural Development; the National Science and Technology Council (conacyt) and the Economics Department at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (uady). Any error or omission in this study is the responsibility of the authors.

* Professor-Researcher at the Economics Department of the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán. E-mail: Javier.becerril@uady.mx. Collaborator in the Studies of Economic Change and Mexican Agricultural Sustainability Program (precesam), of the Center for Economic Studies at the Colegio de México.

** Professor-Researcher at the Economics Department, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán. E-mail: Rafael.ortiz@uady.mx.

*** Professor-Researcher at the Economics Department, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán. E-mail: lilian.albornoz@uady.mx.

2 According to Gómez (2004), the maquiladora export industry is understood as an entity that assembles, manufactures, processes or repairs materials temporarily imported through the receiving country for eventual re-exportation or sending to the country of origin.

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Published in Mexico, 2012-2018 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 195 October-December 2018 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
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