Volume 43, Number 171,
October-December 2012
Maquiladora Factories and Household
Income in Yucatan
Javier Becerril, Rafael Ortiz and Lilian Albornoz
Evaluating the Problem and the Propensity Score Matching Method ( ...continuation )

Once the Propensity Score is calculated, the att can be estimated as follows:


Different methods have been proposed in literature to match similarities or similar individuals that work and do not work for an mei. The most commonly used method is the nearest neighbor method (nnm) and the Kernel-based method (kbm). The nnm method consists of matching each individual with treatment with the control individual that has the closest Propensity Score between treatment and control. Said another way, the most similar working individual possible with the one that does not work for the mei. This method is normally applied with replacements. The second step is to calculate the differences, for our case total annual income, for each “pair” of matched units, and finally the att is obtained as the average of all of the differences.


The data and information used in this study, as indicated in the introduction, are part of a broader research project, the Rural Dynamic Territories Program (rtd) Yucatán,4 which consists of three stages 1A, 2A and 2B. The first stage, prepared by Yúnez et al. (2009), consists of analyzing a typology of rural territories based on improvements or reductions in the level of well-being of the national municipality5 for the period 1990-2005. All municipalities that make up the Republic of Mexico were analyzed, in other words, 2,454 municipalities. Three indicators were estimated when measuring the levels of well-being: per capita consumption, incidence of poverty and inequality (Gini) coefficients. The results make clear elevated heterogeneity in the patterns of well-being in the country. However, there are specific areas that show signs of regional economic development. Contiguous municipalities with similar typologies can be identified with a common development pattern. According to results from Yúnez et al. (2009), the number of municipalities that have experienced significant improvements in the three well-being indicators during the period studied from 1990-2005 is very low. The chah territory proposed here for study has this typology. In other words, it has seen improvements in the three well-being indicators.

The information was gathered from a survey given to a representative sample of homes in the chah territory in stage 2B. At the same time, the sample selection was based off of a list of homes prepared in stage 2A using data from the 2005 Population and Housing Count from the National Statistics and Geography Institute (inegi). To ensure representation of the poorest, chah homes were grouped into two levels of marginalization: high (2,839 homes) and medium (812 homes) in accordance with what the National Population Council (conapo) has established. Based on the sample design — probabilistic and stratified — 251 households were selected for the survey: 186 of the high level and 65 from the medium level. It is very important to clarify that households from the municipal head of Acanceh were excluded, as this is an area with low marginalization, as it is not rural, and due to logistical and financial limitations.

General Characteristics of the chah

The territory in this study is made up of four municipalities: Cuzamá, Homún, Acanceh and Huhí (chah), which together cover more than 688 square kilometers, located in the old Henequenera region of Yucatán, characterized as one of the zones with the greatest concentration of population and speakers of Maya in the state. The population that lives in the chah territory is made up of approximately 32,401 residents according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census (inegi, 2011) with an average distance of 33 to 52 kilometers from the state capital Mérida, depending on the route taken.

The main economic motor in the territory are the maquiladora factories, among which the following stands out: Manufacturera Lee de México s.a. de c.v. in Acanceh, foreign capital oriented towards the national market, employees 1,579 people (73% in the territory) (Yúnez, et al., 2011). The livestock industry is also notable for production of meat from poultry, pigs and cows. Another important sector, with production on the household level, is the manufacturing of typical Yucatán clothing and the manufacture of local artisan items (huipiles, a type of embroidered dress, and hammocks), and to a lesser extent, traditional agriculture, known as milpa6, essentially destined for self-consumption. Finally, non-agricultural work both within and outside of the territory is an important source of household income. The following places provide the main demand for non-agricultural jobs: Mérida, Acanceh, Valladolid and Cancún (located in the neighboring state of Quintana-Roo).

However, to define the chah territory, previous research has investigated the four contiguous municipalities: Cuzamá, Homún, Acanceh and Huhí, with positive dynamics in the areas of well-being, and determined that they form a territory. Based on in-depth qualitative and quantitative studies, Yúnez et al. (2009) and Paredes et al. (2010) conclude that the chah is a territory by applying the following concepts: nodality, homogeneity, complementarity, plan, as well as the anthropological notion of cultural identity, required to define a territory.

4 To investigate this further, visit the web site of the rimisp network, Latin American Center for Rural Development, rtd program.

5 In Mexico, the municipality is the lowest political-administrative division.

6 Milpais a traditional method of planting that associates corn, beans and zucchini, with variations between ibes (white beans), espelón(green beans) and other types of beans. This is a labor-intensive activity and uses the thousand-year-old slash and burn method.

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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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