The center’s research agenda focuses on six major issues of concern to both Mexico and the United States. We are currently reaching out to a number of prominent Mexican and American scholars with expertise in each of the topics below in order to produce high-quality, data-driven policy recommendations for policymakers in both countries.
The center examines the composition of trade flows between Mexico and the United States, and analyzes the regional and global institutional structures that shape binational trade.The goal is to discover how to increase the welfare derived from commercial exchanges for the overall benefit of both countries. The trade research agenda also focuses on the limits of infrastructure, regulatory frameworks and other obstacles to trade faced by importers and exporters.
Until 2013, Mexico’s energy sector was largely closed to international investment, and Mexican energy policy had a domestic rather than international focus. However, as global energy markets are diversifying, Mexico has begun to reform its energy sector, including its oil, gas and electricity subsidiaries. Alongside the Baker Institute’s world-renowned Center for Energy Studies, the Mexico Center will focus on the proposed energy reform, including its political feasibility, regulatory framework, ability to attract new investment and the overall future of Mexico’s energy sector.
Mexico’s economy has been characterized by monopolistic and oligopolistic markets, particularly in the telecommunications sector. In 2013, Mexico passed a telecommunications reform bill designed to open the industry to foreign and domestic investment, thus introducing greater competition for market share in services such as Internet and mobile products. The ultimate goal is to modernize the nation’s telecommunications sector and lower the prices for consumers. The Mexico Center focuses on evaluating the new telecommunications policy, its implementation over the next few years and the expected effects of the reform in the coming decade.
A quiet and unmanaged integration is growing in the North American health care markets. Binational flows of pharmaceuticals, health care services, health workers and technologies are becoming more 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 Mexico 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.
Infrastructure in North America has never been regarded as a system, not even after the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which demanded major infrastructure coordination among Mexico, Canada and the United States. Ports, airports and highways — particularly along the U.S-Mexico border — must be viewed as a system in order to facilitate trade. To achieve a systemic understanding of North American transportation infrastructure, the Mexico Center focuses on research projects that visualize the entire system in order to serve the needs of rapidly integrating economies.
Binational cooperation on education 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 presidents of both countries recently expressed their desire to coordinate their education policies. The proposed areas of cooperation deal with competitiveness through workforce development, student and scholar mobility, and research partnerships. The Mexico Center will focus on each of these important components of the two countries’ agreement as outlined by Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto in May 2013.
With over 200 million crossings per year, the U.S.-Mexico border is one of the world’s most dynamic areas of human mobility. More Americans now live, work and vacation in Mexico than in any other country, and since 1980, Mexico has been the number one source of immigration to the United States. Thousands of Mexican students attend American universities and the U.S. receives more tourists from Mexico than from any other country, except Canada. Despite this connectivity, human mobility between the United States and Mexico remains controversial, as reflected by the recent failure of the U.S. Congress to deal with immigration reform. The Mexico Center will develop policy alternatives for better border management and the open and orderly flow of people in North America.
Administration of Justice / Security
An insufficient justice system and national security are major challenges to continued economic and political progress in Mexico. The current public safety and security crisis caused by organized crime and drug trafficking has barely abated, and this issue has the potential to eclipse all progress in the other many key themes of the U.S.-Mexico relationship. The Mexico Center will seek to leverage the current cooperative efforts between the two countries while proposing policy alternatives for both a more effective justice system.