Market Reforms in Mexico: Coalitions,Institutions,and the Politics of Policy Change

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The last two decades saw a host of governments abandon statist development models for more market-friendly ones. However, not all reform attempts fared equally well. Why do some governments succeed in implementing market reforms while others fail? Why might the same government succeed in one policy area but not another? "Rethinking the Politics of Market Reforms" explores these central questions by examining Mexico's reform experience in privatization, deregulation, and environmental policy. More than simply a book on "Mexican politics," this study speaks to the broader political dynamics behind the success or failure to implement reforms; first, by assessing new policy initiatives in multiple arenas across presidential administrations in Mexico, then by comparing Mexico's privatization experience to that of Argentina's. Through structured, focused comparison of select case studies, the author argues that the fate of dramatic reform initiatives turned on coalition politics (both inside and outside the state), and explains how institutional dynamics and the capacity to solve the problem of policy "costs" strongly affected reformers' prospects of success.

Author Biography: A former National Science Foundation and Ford Fellow, Mark Eric Williams is assistant professor of political science at Middlebury College.

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Editorial Reviews

Recommended for upper-division undergraduate through faculty collections.
Taking Mexico as an example, Williams (political science, Middlebury College) considers the various successes and failures of market-based reforms in areas like privatization, deregulation, and environmental policy. He assesses policy initiatives under various administrations and compares Mexico's privatization efforts to those of Argentina. Three case studies are presented and the findings analyzed in a comparative framework. The role of coalitions in successful reforms is emphasized. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Latin American Politics and Society
Market Reforms in Mexico goes beyond the first-generation efforts to explain (or ignore) the politics of reform, and complements works emphasizing coalition politics. It is nicely written and easily accessible even to the undergraduate student.
Frances Hagopian
Market Reforms in Mexico is an impressive, original, and meticulously argued work that brings a fresh focus to bear on the by-now familiar question of how and why market-oriented reforms are successful. By juxtaposing Mexico's successful program of privatization and deregulation with its largely unsuccessful efforts in the area of environmental reform, Williams persuades us that the capacity to reform is at least as important as the motivation to do so. This rare look inside the state, and the struggles of reformers to forge coalitions, gain leverage over policy, and overcome the opposition of the losers fills in so much of what has been assumed about economic reform that it forces us to rethink many of the most fundamental precepts of our literature on political economy.
Jorge I. Dominguez
Why do governments sometimes succeed and sometimes fail in implementing market-oriented reforms? Mark Williams addresses this key question in political economy with lucidity and clarity. His stunning case studies of economic and environmental policy implementation in Mexico represent first-rate research presented with literary elegance. His work should interest those who think about major policy and institutional reforms and their impacts on governments, businesses, workers, and citizens more generally.
Recommended for upper-division undergraduate through faculty collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742511125
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/15/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

A former National Science Foundation and Ford Fellow, Mark Eric Williams is associate professor of political science at Middlebury College.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Principal Acronyms
Pt. I Introduction and Theory
1 Caught in the Paradigm Shift 3
2 Explaining Policy Reform: Strategies, Institutions, and Coalitions 23
Pt. II Case Studies
3 Privatizing Aeromexico, Cananea, and Sicartsa 59
4 Deregulating Freight Transport 111
5 The Challenge of Environmental Policy Reform 133
Pt. III Generalizing the Argument and Conclusion
6 Policy Reform in Comparative Perspective: Privatization in Argentina 169
7 Rethinking the Politics of Reform: Retrospect and Legacies 199
App Field Interviews, Mexico City 217
Bibliography 225
Index 251
About the Author 259
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