Recent Publications

The Mexico Institute regularly releases new publications. Below are the most recent materials published by members of the Mexico Institute's staff. Please check back regularly for the most up-to date publications available.

U.S.- Mexico Regional Economic Competitiveness Forums 2014

Apr 14, 2014
The North American Research Partnership is pleased to partner with USAID Mexico, the Council of State Governments West, the U.S. Congressional Border Caucus, and the Mexico Institute/Woodrow Wilson Center on the “U.S.- Mexico Regional Economic Competitiveness Forums 2014.” This initiative brings together key business, government and other stakeholders to discuss the future of the U.S.-Mexico border economy with particular emphasis on four crossborder regions.

Building Resilient Communities in Mexico: Civic Responses to Crime and Violence

Mar 26, 2014
This study is part of a multiyear effort by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego to analyze the obstacles to and opportunities for improving citizen security in Mexico. The book offers policy options for how to foster robust civic responses to the problems of crime and violence.

Is Geography Destiny? A Primer on North American Relations

Feb 18, 2014
At a time when nearly all of the key issues facing North America are being understood and addressed either independently by the United States, Canada and Mexico, or within the dual-bilateral framework of U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada relations, this report attempts to view these challenges and opportunities through a trilateral lens.

Renewable Energy in Mexico: Policy and Technologies for a Sustainable Future

Feb 04, 2014
Mexico’s renewable energy sector is prosperous and with great potential; however, it is necessary that Mexico sees itself as a country that as an energy future beyond Cantarell, beyond PEMEX, beyond oil. The future of renewable energy in Mexico offers great hope for the country and the region and the time is right for a concerted government, industry and social surge to push forward the development of this sector.

Mexico’s Energy Reform: A Game Changer in the Nation’s History (An Upstream Perspective)

Jan 24, 2014
The Mexican energy reform bill adopted by a narrow margin on December 12, 2013 and which took effect on January 1, 2014 formalizes the most liberal energy regime in the country’s history.

A New Regulator in the Hydrocarbons Sector?

Jan 24, 2014
In December of 2013, the Mexican Congress approved a major reform of the energy sector, with the hydrocarbons industry of as one of its focus points. We now await the secondary legislation and implementation that will make or break the reform. As in the case of other major reforms last year in the areas of telecommunications and competition (as well as in the case of the 2008 energy reform) one of the fundamental points of discussion in Congress will undoubtedly relate to the institutional framework and autonomy of regulatory agencies, specifically the National Commission of Hydrocarbons (CNH) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE).

The Local Educational and Regional Economic Foundations of Violence: An Analysis of Homicide Rates across Mexico’s Municipalities

Jan 15, 2014
Examining 2010 homicide rates across Mexico’s 2455 municipalities, Matthew Ingram offers a subnational and spatial study of the patterns and sources of violence.

2013: The State of Security in Mexico

Dec 18, 2013
In this article, David Shirk explores how the state of security in Mexico has changed in the year 2013. He argues that although there is much to be done, the current government’s efforts have actually been accompanied by a decrease in violence.

Mexico’s Petite Révolution: Justice and Security Implications of Approving a Fully New Code of Judicial Procedures

Dec 13, 2013
This paper analyzes the implications of the approval of a Single Code, the fundamental ways in which it will change judicial procedures in Mexico, the main arguments given by its detractors and supporters, and the main benefits and challenges that its approval will pose for a country that faces large-scale criminal violence and low citizen’s trust in their authorities.

Legal Migration and Free Trade in the NAFTA Era: Beyond Migration Rhetoric

Dec 13, 2013
This paper explores why, in the period since NAFTA took place, there has been an increase in visas and qualified Mexican workers admissions. The highly skilled migration pattern is highly associated with economic integration between the economies of Mexico and the U.S. as a product of the Agreement, particularly regarding TN and intra-company transfer visas.

Conference Report: Energy Reform in Mexico: Implications for the United States

Sep 26, 2013
On June 21st, 2013, three experts on Mexican energy issues discussed the energy reform proposal, commenting on the urgency for change and highlighting the potential political, legal, and technical obstacles that it faces. This report summarizes the discussion and includes commentary on foreign policy implications and important international lessons to be learned.

Four Rule of Law Policies to Make Mexico Grow

Sep 26, 2013
In this article, Mexico scholar Viridiana Rios discusses the relationship between economic development and the rule of law. She argues that the rule of law provides a foundation for economic development by fostering a secure climate for investment, creating an environment of certainty about conflict resolution, providing all economic actors equal access to justice, and limiting corruption, predatory behavior and informality.

Understanding and Addressing Youth in “Gangs” in Mexico

Aug 26, 2013
This report defines the gang issue in Mexico, briefly describes U.S.-Mexico bilateral efforts on youth gang prevention via the Merida Initiative, and provides policy recommendations for the U.S. and Mexican governments on how to best support civil society and strengthen relevant state institutions.

The Victims' Movement in Mexico

Aug 22, 2013
This paper seeks to examine the composition of victims groups in Mexico, their organizational structure and internal divisions, and helps shed light on a number of facets of this social movement.

Civic Engagement and the Judicial Reform: The role of civil society in reforming criminal justice in Mexico

Aug 22, 2013
This report focuses on the role played by civil society in Mexico's judicial reform process, highlighting the efforts of organizations that have been influential and emblematic of civic activism in this area.

Civil Society, the Government and the Development of Citizen Security

Aug 07, 2013
This paper dissects the attempts, with varying degrees of success, of civil society and business associations to interact with authorities on security issues in four Mexican cities: Juarez, Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo and Tijuana.

The Second Democratic Transition in Mexico: Efforts, obstacles and challenges to Mexico in the quest for a comprehensive, coordinated, consistent form of accountability

Jul 30, 2013
During the last decade, Mexico has implemented a comprehensive set of institutional reforms to combat discretion, inefficiency and corruption. After the successful efforts beginning in the last decades to build a new electoral system that allowed a peaceful transition from a single party regime to a pluralist democracy, the public agenda began focusing on challenging the traditional way to exercise authority gained in the polls. This text is a brief summary of the set of changes and challenges Mexico has faced during this period as well as of the vigorous debate on how to build complete, articulate, and coherent accountability in the country.

The State of the Border Report

May 23, 2013
As the debate over immigration reform has brought the management of the U.S.-Mexico border back into the spotlight, this report provides a comprehensive look at the state of affairs in the management of the U.S.-Mexico border and the border region, focusing on four core areas: trade and competitiveness, security, sustainability, and quality of life. The report suggests that rather than consider each issue individually, the interdependent nature of topics like trade and security demand the border be approached from a more holistic perspective.

Mexico and the United States: The Politics of Partnership

May 14, 2013
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the partnership between Mexico and the United States? What might be done to improve it? Exploring both policy and process, and ranging from issues of trade and development to concerns about migration, the environment, and crime, the authors of Mexico and the United States provide a comprehensive analysis of one of the world’s most complex bilateral relationships.

U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Guatemala and Mexico

May 13, 2013
Goodman's paper discusses U.S. firearms trafficking to Mexico as well as the lesser known phenomenon of the illicit movement of U.S.-origin firearms to Guatemala.

In Mexico, President Obama Expresses Optimism for Immigration Reform, But Many Americans Express Bias against Mexican Immigrants

May 06, 2013
Immigration reform gained momentum in the United States after the 2012 presidential election, when the Hispanic vote helped to swing the election conclusively toward President Obama, a fact he alluded to recently while in Mexico. This just-completed, nationwide Chicago Council survey reveals support for some variation of immigration reform, similar to other ecent polls. But there is still a lot of grassroots work to be done to break down stereotypes. Half of Americans overstate unauthorized immigration levels into the United States, which seems to intensify bias against Mexican immigrants and opposition to reform.

Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration and Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America

May 06, 2013
Amid powerful demographic, economic and social forces reshaping Mexico and much of Central America and newfound momentum for reform of the U.S. immigration system, the countries of the region have new avenues to improve opportunities for their own people and strengthen regional competitiveness with new collaborative approaches on migration and human-capital development, an influential task force convened by the Migration Policy Institute and the Wilson Center concluded in a final report.

Educational cooperation and exchanges: An emerging issue

May 02, 2013
The Mexico Institute prepared a brief highlighting the potential for expanding student exchange and international mobility programs between the U.S. and Mexico.

Mexico Matters: Change in Mexico and Its Impact Upon the United States

Apr 12, 2013
The book consists of seven short chapters. The first positions Mexico as a fundamental issue for the United States. The second delves into the origins of the country’s current situation and choices. The third analyzes the conundrum of the nation’s politics. The fourth describes the process of decentralization that overtook the country in recent decades and what that entails for decision making. The fifth explores the economy, where it comes from and how it has performed, as well as its current dilemmas. The sixth examines the issue of security and its complexity. The book ends with a few thoughts on the stakes and opportunities looking toward the future.

The Effects of Drug-War Related Violence on Mexico’s Press and Democracy

Apr 05, 2013
This paper offers an assessment of the impact of criminal violence on journalists and media workers in Mexico, which is now the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere for journalists. Dr. Edmonds-Poli concludes with a set of policy recommendations for the Mexican government, Mexican society, and the international community to address the problem of violence against the Mexican media.

U.S. Ambassadors to Mexico: The Relationship Through Their Eyes

Feb 26, 2013
What emerges in this publication is a nuanced portrait of the individuals who have been tasked with serving as the key link of the U.S. government with Mexico. Dolia Estévez's effort to bring their memories and their perspectives to light helps illuminate a little known part of the political relationship between the two countries. It also chronicles a changing relationship between these countries from "distant neighbors" to "intimate strangers," who are deeply dependent on one another and yet are only still getting to know one another well enough to manage the relationship.

Peña Nieto’s Cabinet: What Does It Tell Us About Mexican Leadership?

Mar 12, 2013
An analysis of cabinet leadership in Mexico has always provided insights into political recruitment trends for the policy-making leadership in general. This essay briefly analyzes the backgrounds of the twenty-two cabinet secretaries and important cabinet-level agencies, and the president, and compares them with equivalent leadership, where appropriate, from three prior presidential periods. Those consist of the cabinet members from the pre-democratic era, 1935-1988, from the democratic transition, 1988-2000, and from the democratic era, 2000-2013.

Criminal Procedure Reform in Mexico: Where Things Stand Now

Feb 15, 2013
This paper gives an overview of Mexico’s judicial reform process and where things stand now that the Peña Nieto government has assumed the presidency from Felipe Calderón. A key challenge in tracking the reform continues to be the unavailability of systematic data on institutional changes; Ingram’s paper highlights the weakness in data availability but his measures of reform progress also contribute to ameliorating this weakness.

New Ideas for a New Era: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations

May 01, 2013
The Mexico Institute presents policy recommendations for strengthening U.S.-Mexico relations during the administrations of President Obama and President Peña Nieto.

A New Beginning for Mexican Oil

Dec 13, 2012
Based on the collaborative work of a high‐level group of Mexican energy experts during the first half of 2012, this report focuses on the issues facing Mexico’s hydrocarbon sector and the most important principles that must underlie the forthcoming reform of the country’s oil and gas industry. Although multiple diagnoses of the sector exist, in recent years there has been no fundamental examination of the principles that should underlie the nation’s energy policy.

A New Agenda with Mexico

Nov 26, 2012
The depth of economic ties with Mexico, together with declines in illegal immigration and organized crime violence in Mexico, open up an opportunity for U.S. policymakers to deepen the economic relationship with Mexico and to engage Mexico more on major global issues.

Sharing Space with our Hemispheric Partners

Oct 02, 2012
The final report of the Latino Leadership Task Force is a call to action for Washington to prioritize partners and markets in the Western Hemisphere, and to engage the Latino community as partners in the effort. The report urges Washington to enact hemispheric policy that better reflects changing demographics in the United States and the growing influence of the U.S. Latino community, which drives desperately needed job creation and growth in the United States.

Solar Energy Potential in Mexico's Northern Border States

Sep 28, 2012
Mexico’s geographic location and its world-class solar resources make it a prime candidate for solar energy development. To date, however, investment in the sector and government support for the industry has been quite limited, and solar energy has lagged far behind wind and geothermal generation. This paper argues that the northern border states of Mexico provide an extraordinary opportunity for investment in solar energy for local consumption by businesses and residential customers.

The State of Security in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

Aug 28, 2012
"The State of Security in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region," is a new working paper by the Border Research Partnership, and will be a chapter in the forthcoming "State of the Border Report." This working paper looks at some of the many security concerns along the U.S. border, among them global terrorism, spillover violence from Mexico, and undocumented immigration.

The State of Trade, Competitiveness and Economic Well-being in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

Jun 06, 2012
More than a billion dollars of goods are traded across the US-Mexico border each day. With so much commerce, efficient and secure border management is essential to promote the competitiveness of the US and Mexico. This report identifies strategies to meet this challenge.

The Legal Side of Mexican Immigration

Jun 27, 2012
In this brief, Mexico Institute's Senior Adviser on immigration David R. Ayón, looks into legal Mexican immigration to the U.S., utilizing new data from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Immigration Statistics.

Mexico’s 2012 Elections: Key Issues and Critical Questions Now and Beyond

Jun 18, 2012
In this report the Wilson Center's Eric L. Olson analyzes the upcoming Mexican election, specifically the candidate's foreign policy positions and what may change should the PRI win the election.

Re-Energizing the Border: Renewable Energy, Green Jobs and Border Infrastructure

May 15, 2012
The U.S.-Mexico border region is one of enormous energy resources, both traditional and renewable. This report provides an overview of the prospects for renewable energy projects in Mexico’s border states, examining the development of wind, solar and municipal solid waste projects. This research evaluates the potential impact of investment in these projects on border communities in terms of employment, infrastructure, human capital and social participation.

Bioenergy Potential in Northern Mexico

May 15, 2012
This report recognizes the growing potential for bioenergy, which has attracted public and private sector interest in recent years. It has become clear that Mexico’s land and labor costs make the cross-border trade in renewable energy an exciting and potentially highly profitable sector. Of bioenergy feedstocks, municipal solid waste may represent the greatest potential for growth in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico transborder region.

Wind Energy Potential in Mexico’s Northern Border States

May 15, 2012
With over 1,000 MW of wind energy capacity now installed and another 2,000 MW under construction, Mexico’s wind energy sector has grown dramatically since the early 1990s. This report examines the potential for creating economic benefits in border states from wind energy development, with particular attention paid to employment and infrastructure.

Linking Development & Migration: A Binational U.S.-Mexico Dialogue

May 03, 2012
Debate over immigration policy in the United States has centered on law enforcement and related legal reforms. Two other factors, however, are key elements of a broader discussion, especially in international forums.

Considering New Strategies for Confronting Organized Crime in Mexico

Mar 29, 2012
The Mexico Institute presents a new publication on U.S.-Mexico security cooperation by Senior Associate Eric L. Olson that challenges the conventional wisdom about crime and violence in Mexico and suggests new strategies for effectively addressing the security threats posed by organized crime.

Innovation and Development in Mexico: The Promising Road Ahead

Feb 03, 2012
Despite the tenuous state of public security in Mexico and the impact the U.S. economic recession has had on the country, Mexico has been successful at boosting its economic performance, while at the same time demonstrating innovation in its agricultural, aerospace, automobile manufacturing and energy sectors.

Mexico: A Middle Class Society, Poor No More, Developed Not Yet

Feb 01, 2012
In the updated and translated version of their latest book, renowned economic and political analysts Luis de la Calle and Luis Rubio put forth the provocative notion that Mexico has been transformed from a mostly poor to a predominantly middle class country. They document the rise of the middle class and analyze its profound implications.

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