Palavicini Corona, Eduardo
Local economic development in Mexico: the contribution of the bottom-up approach.
PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
This thesis examines the contribution of the bottom-up approach towards local economic development (LED) in Mexico. It applies a combination of methodologies to assess if the growing importance of this approach in the public policy arena is supported by a more focused and systematic analysis. In doing so, the aim is to offer a broader and
deeper understanding of the key elements of the bottom-up perspective and their specific impact on the economic and social development of places, by considering a large sample of Mexican municipalities; and to better comprehend the effects of local actions and interactions on the shape and effectiveness of those key elements by focusing on two municipalities, which have adopted different strategies.
The first part of the empirical analysis uses a quantitative methodology and presents – to the best of our knowledge – the first nationwide quantitative assessment of the impact of the constituents of the bottom-up approach on the development fortunes of local jurisdictions. The analysis relies on a purpose-built database of 898 municipalities in
Mexico and on heteroscedasticity-consistent ordinary least square (OLS) regression methods to evaluate whether the implementation of six different components of the bottom-up development strategies – development plan, sustainability, entrepreneurship, capacity building, participation mechanisms, and development links – has delivered greater human development across Mexican municipalities. The results of the analysis indicate that municipalities engaging in LED have witnessed improvements in human development, relative to those which have overlooked it. The increase in human development has been greatest for those local authorities which have pursued capacity building, the establishment of development links and which have drafted a development plan based on a local diagnosis.
The second part of the analysis uses a case-study methodology to dig deeper on two Mexican municipalities – Apizaco and Chiautempan – located in Tlaxcala, one of the
Mexican states which has set up an institutional framework aimed at encouraging greater participation. Our findings reveal that while the implementation of certain aspects of the bottom-up approach have had a clear relevant positive contribution to economic and social development, a series of local challenges have clearly shaped the effectiveness of the LED strategies applied in both municipalities. In addition, the analysis shows that Apizaco, the local authority which pursued LED in a more comprehensive way, experienced a greater improvement in socio-economic development.
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