A Historical Perspective of Economic Development on the Northern Mexico Border
Since the 1880s, the northern states of Mexico have been a regional center of economic growth. The development of a network of communications and transportation with the rest of the country and the United States, the emergence of manufacturing and commercial agriculture, and the expansion of mining initially fostered the region’s economic growth. Later, at the onset of the revolutionary era (post-1910), other sectors gained importance, such as oil. For all of the twentieth century, and to this day, the northern border states have been the fastest growing and most productive region in the country, comparable only to Mexico City. This region has benefited from or survived economic policies implemented by Mexico’s government during the twentieth century, for the most part enjoying times of growth and recovering relatively quickly from difficult periods. Its prosperity and proximity to the United States have yielded great economic benefits for some, but have also posed great challenges to the social development of the region in the past decades. In presenting a brief economic history of modern Mexico, highlighting the points relevant to the development of border economies, it is the purpose of this study to provide the non-specialist of the Mexican economy with a background on the evolution of the economies of the northern border states and to identify the origins of the defining features of the contemporary economies of this region.