Do Mexican Voters Care About the Economy?

The New York Times apparently doesn't think so. In an article assessing the Mexican presidential campaign in its final days, there is no mention of the economic performance of the current administration. Since one of the two leading candidates is from the same party as the incumbent president, and pledges to continue the same policies if elected, the recent economic record would appear to be relevant.

For those who care about such mundane things as economic growth, the cumulative per capita GDP growth in the first five years of the current president has been approximately 2.0 percent. By contrast, Mexico's per capita GDP grew 4.0 percent annually over the years from 1960-80. In other words, in 5 years under the current president, Mexico's economy grew as much as it typically did in 6 months over the period from 1960-80. As a general rule, weak economic growth will mean weak job creation and few gains in reducing poverty, and this appears to have been the case in Mexico.

This weak economic performance probably explains much of the support for the main challenger, Lopez Obrador. As it is, the article contains very little of substance. It can probably be best described as a careful examination of the "swift boat" allegations of Mr. Obrador's opponents. It would be great stuff for the National Inquirer, but we should expect better from the New York Times.

--Dean Baker

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