Volume 43, Number 171,
October-December 2012
Maquiladora Factories and Household
Income in Yucatan
Javier Becerril, Rafael Ortiz and Lilian Albornoz

The findings in this econometric study on the effects of the maquiladora export industry on direct income for residents in four municipalities in the old Henequenera region, particularly in the chah territory, reveal the importance and relevance of the maquiladora sector for hundreds of rural households in Yucatán. The results of the logistic model with the expected signs, either positive or negative, as well as their robustness and significance, show us why the residents that work at maquiladoras decide to do so. They also demonstrate the benefit of this economic spillover in the chah territory. This article meets its research and academic objectives by evaluating the effect of the industry on individual income, and also applies a non-parametric method of evaluation.

The factorial economic analysis also revealed the profile of the individuals that work in the industry, which mainly employs young people, with high-school level education and good health, among other factors. Our findings suggest that young people in Yucatán, living and developing in rural environments, see maquiladoras as a secure and opportune source of employment. In accordance with Gómez (2004), the increase in worker quality and productivity in the maquiladoras not only resulted in an increase in real payment for these workers, but also in an increase for the entire set of Mexican workers. Average maquiladora salary in 2002 was 125.1% of the average Mexican salary, a figure that reached 102% for laborers and 402% for employees.

Our analysis undoubtedly coincides with and supports Gómez’s (2004) argument, saying that maintaining or increasing activities related to the maquiladora industry in Yucatán will make the economy more dynamic due to the economic spillover of paid salaries, and through its potential to link with the local productive plant. It will also contribute with multiplicative effects to purchasing local inputs and selling products manufactured at a lower cost, because according to Gómez (2004), one of the main limits on the maquiladora industry to act as a motor or catalyst for Mexican economic development is its low level of connection with the rest of the local productive structure. This is due to the high consumption of imported goods, which reduces the ability of the maquiladora industry to act as a motor for the rest of the branches of the economy. As such, any productive development strategy in Mexico will have to involve increasing the level of connection between maquiladoras and local vendor companies. There are three possibilities for action: i) increase consumption of national goods in all branches in which maquiladoras operate, ii) promote activities for maquiladoras that consume more national goods, and iii) change the composition of what is consumed.

These objectives must be met. Otherwise, the development strategy will not have a long-term impact, as Biles (2004) argues. The maquiladoras have had a mixed impact on the state of Yucatán, especially on the economic growth of rural areas. We suggest increasing technological transference and improving human capital (specialized) in order to increase mei production and result in an increase in salaries for workers. If this is not achieved in the short term, there is the risk of history repeating itself. Henequenera activity flourished in the last century, but failed because it depended on a single product.

The results of our quantitative economic study should serve as a signal for decision-makers of the Federal Executive, or on the local level, the State Executive, to maintain, or in the best case scenario, make the Yucatán economy more attractive to foreign capital to establish the manufacturing and export maquiladora industry, with higher quotas on local goods, quotas of sales to the local market and rigorous analysis of environmental impacts, all of which would turn the economic growth generated by the mei into sustainable economic growth for the old Henequenera region, rural zones and the entire state of Yucatán.

Published in Mexico, 2012-2017 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 48, Number 191, October-December 2017 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,
CP 04510, México, D.F. Tel (52 55) 56 23 01 05 and (52 55) 56 24 23 39, fax (52 55) 56 23 00 97, www.probdes.iiec.unam.mx, revprode@unam.mx. Journal Editor: Alicia Girón González. Reservation of rights to exclusive use of the title: 04-2012-070613560300-203, ISSN: pending. Person responsible for the latest update of this issue: Minerva García, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México D.F., latest update: Nov 13th, 2017.
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