Governed and ungoverned integration in the Mexico–US border region

in Regions and Cohesion
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  • 1 San Diego State University, USA jgerber@sdsu.edu
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Abstract

US cities and towns on the border with Mexico tend to have below-average incomes, while Mexican border cities and towns tend to be above the average of Mexico. Social scientists have not explained these differences from national averages in a convincing way. Nor have they described the characteristics of border cities and towns in ways that differentiate them from cities and towns in the interiors of their respective nation. The key to both puzzles is the fact that the institutional environment in the US–Mexico border region is binational in origin. Mexican institutions create externalities in the United States and vice versa. Recognition of this fact is a first step in dealing with the international public goods and common pool resources of the border region.

Resumen

Ciudades y pueblos a ambos lados de la frontera México–EE. UU. comparten características que las hacen diferentes de las comunidades en el interior de sus respectivas naciones. Por ejemplo, las diferencias de ingresos transfronterizos son más pequeñas que las diferencias nacionales y cada lado está fuertemente influenciado por políticas y eventos que se originan en el otro lado. Hay tres razones principales para estos efectos: proximidad, redes y externalidades. Este ensayo utiliza la perspectiva de economía institucional para argumentar que el ambiente institucional de las ciudades y pueblos fronterizos es binacional. El reconocimiento de este hecho es un primer paso en la gestión de los bienes públicos internacionales y los recursos comunes de la región fronteriza.

Résumé

Villes et villages des deux côtés de la frontière américano-mexicaine partagent des caractéristiques qui les différencient des communautés à l'intérieur de leurs nations respectives. Par exemple, les écarts de revenu de part et d'autre de la frontière sont plus réduits que les différences nationales, et chaque côté est fortement influencé par les politiques et les événements qui proviennent de l'autre côté. Trois raisons principales expliquent ces effets : la proximité, les réseaux et les externalités. Cet essai utilise la perspective de l'économie institutionnelle et soutient que l'environnement institutionnel des villes frontalières est binational. Cette reconnaissance est une première étape pour la gestion des biens publics internationaux et des ressources communes de la région frontalière.

Contributor Notes

JAMES GERBER is professor of economics, Emeritus, from San Diego State University. His books include a widely used textbook, International Economics (Pearson, multiple years), now in its seventh edition, and A Great Deal of Ruin: Financial Crises since 1929 (Cambridge, 2019). He is co-author of Fifty Years of Change on the US–Mexico Border (with Joan Anderson, University of Texas, 2008). He is a contributing editor to the Handbook of Latin American Studies (Library of Congress) and has published many articles on the subject of the US–Mexico border. He has been a visiting scholar at universities in Mexico and Canada. Affiliation: San Diego State University. Postal address: 4408 North Avenue San Diego, CA 92116. E-mail: jgerber@sdsu.edu

Regions and Cohesion

Regiones y Cohesión / Régions et Cohésion

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