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Research Projects

The Center for the United States and Mexico’s research agenda primarily focuses on six issues of concern to both Mexico and the United States.

Click below to view the center’s publications, events, experts and special projects for each research area.



Trade and Economic Integration

Trade is central to the economies of Mexico and the United States, and is the foundation for the integration of manufacturing chains across North America. The Center for the United States and Mexico examines trade patterns, the impact of other trade blocs on the economic relationship, the regional and global institutional structures that shape binational trade, and new opportunities for comparative trade advantages within the region. Through its research, the center aims to improve the welfare derived from commercial exchanges for the benefit of both countries.



With around 300 million legal crossings per year, the U.S.-Mexico border is one of the world’s most dynamic areas of human mobility. Despite this connectivity, human mobility between the United States and Mexico remains controversial, as reflected by the failure of the U.S. Congress to address immigration reform. The center works to advance public policies that balance border security and efficiency in the legitimate trade and travel between the two countries.


Rule of Law 

Mexico ranks poorly in global rule of law indices, scoring near the bottom on issues such as corruption, transparency, judicial system effectiveness and human and due process rights. Given the current cooperative efforts between the two countries, the Center for the United States and Mexico seeks to propose policy alternatives for a more effective justice system and improvements to the rule of law in Mexico.


Security and Organized Crime

Drug trafficking and security concerns in Mexico hinder U.S.-Mexico relations because they impact cooperation on shared issues such as law enforcement, immigration and trade. The Center for the United States and Mexico researches issues such as money laundering, public safety and security, and law enforcement cooperation to provide policy recommendations that aim to improve the U.S.-Mexico relationship.


The U.S.-Mexico Border

Legal flows of trade, tourists, shoppers and students as well as illegal flows of illicit drugs and undocumented migrants have made the U.S.-Mexico border the epicenter of disagreements between the two countries. Yet the border is crucial to the prosperity and the security of both countries. The Center for the United States and Mexico works closely with the policy community to develop alternatives for better border management between the U.S. and Mexico.


Politics and Democracy in Mexico

The Center for the United States and Mexico focuses on efforts to improve the rule of law and democratic governance in the country, with special attention to the electoral process and the changes proposed in recent reforms to the system. The center also plans to examine political developments in Mexico that can hinder or advance the country’s quality of democracy.


 Other Areas of Interest

  • Energy

    Until 2013, Mexico’s energy sector was largely closed to international investment, and the country’s energy policy had a domestic rather than international focus. However, as global energy markets continue to diversify, Mexico has begun to reform its energy sector, including its oil, gas and electricity subsidiaries. The Center for the United States and Mexico focuses on energy reform and its implementation, and the overall impact on Mexico’s energy sector.  

  • Education
    Binational cooperation on education issues would greatly benefit both countries, as well as the overall competitiveness of the North American region. At the same time, it would contribute to Mexico’s development and potentially impact migration flows from Mexico to the United States. The center focuses on each of these important components, as outlined by Presidents Obama and Peña in a May 2013 agreement.
  • Telecommunications
    In 2013, Mexico passed a telecommunications reform bill designed to open the industry to foreign and domestic investment. The ultimate goal is to modernize the nation’s telecommunications sector and lower prices for consumers. The center will continue to evaluate new telecommunications policies, their implementation over the next few years and the expected effects of the reform in the coming decade.
  • Health Care
    Binational flows of pharmaceuticals, health care services, health workers and technologies are becoming common. The regulatory apparatus for these markets is understudied and probably inadequate to serve the needs of the growing health care sectors in Mexico and the United States. The center’s health care research explores the integration of these markets, their structure and possible ways for both nations to maximize the advantages of integration in terms of cost, technology and accessibility.