Why countries are a crappy way to divide people up: Maquiladoras edition

A former student writes:

Hi Will, I had a question for you since I remember you were very knowledgeable last quarter and we had some interesting conversations. I am writing a paper for a class now on the economy of Mexico and I wanted to focus specifically on transnational corporations (maquiladoras) in Mexico. My professor refuses to help at all and since I am just a baby economist I need some outside help. I wanted to look at the trend of the economy since some of the large corporations have moved to mexico, drawbacks and benifits etc. Maybe I should focus on one company in particular since it is only a short paper. Do you know of any websites that might help? Or can you perhaps point me in a good direction. Also I wanted to know what the benefits of EPZ’s were to the host country, thank you!

I responded:
I don’t know if I can give you any specific help, but maybe a couple pointers can get you going in the right direction.

Here’s a general discussion on Mexico’s economic troubles despite NAFTA and better governance. Read the comments and be sure to follow the link to Prof. Delong’s discussion, too.

This (good) paper
talks about which Mexicans, by geography, end up emigrating. Surprisingly, or maybe not given you’re studying maquiladoras, its not the folks closest to the border that emigrate. Any guesses on why this might be? 🙂

And there’s this Atlantic article (it requires a subscription, but you could probably pick up the magazine at Safeway or somewhere).

Good luck!

BTW, you should send me the resulting paper. I’d like to see what you come up with. I’m interested in this topic but I’ve never had time to research it.

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