Going for Growth 2021 – Mexico


The pandemic highlighted how recent increases in poverty, inequalities and gender gaps, exacerbate a long- standing challenge to increase inclusiveness. Raising living standards will require boosting productivity growth by improving the business climate, including through fighting corruption and enhancing the skills across the population.

Performance prior to the COVID-19 crisis

mexico economy mexico inequality mexico environment

Economy: Percentage gap with respect to the population-weighted average of the highest 18 OECD countries in terms of GDP per capita (in constant 2015 PPPs).

Inequality: The Gini coefficient for disposable income measures the extent to which the distribution of disposable income among households deviates from perfect equal distribution. A value of zero represents perfect equality and a value of 100 extreme inequality. The latest available data for Mexico is 2016.

Environment: A high exposure to air pollution refers to above 10 μg/m3 of PM2.5.

Source: Economy: OECD, National Accounts, Productivity and Labour Force Statistics Databases; Inequality: OECD, Income Distribution Database and World Bank, World Development Indicators Database; Environment: OECD, Environment and Energy Databases.

Reinvigorating growth to provide opportunities across the population

The numerous informal workers have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. A comprehensive strategy to fight informality is required to make sure that the recovery brings formal jobs, which would help inclusiveness and to increase government revenues in the medium-term. Recent increases in minimum wages and planned increases in social security contributions may have the unintended effect of hindering formalisation and should be flanked by reductions in the cost and burden of formalising a business and simplifying tax and regulatory procedures. Protecting workers rather than jobs, by establishing an unemployment insurance system at the federal level, would also improve matching, helping workers to find formal jobs, and strengthen the social safety net and the resilience to shocks.

Reducing barriers to entry and fostering competition would help to boost investment. Ensuring the independence and adequate resourcing of competition authorities and specialised courts remains crucial for competition enforcement. Reducing red tape at local level would facilitate investment and job creation. Reducing barriers to foreign direct investment and trade in services, particularly in the areas that provide critical links in global value chains, such as in the banking sector, energy, transportation and logistics, would help to boost the export competitiveness of firms. Additionally, rolling out the centralised system for federal procurement and moving away from direct awards in public tenders would improve competition, efficiency of public spending and help combat corruption.

De facto conditions for doing business suffer from low institutional quality and a high level of impunity, which hinders investment and (formal) employment growth. Strengthening the efficiency of the justice system and anti-corruption initiatives is essential. Recent efforts should be followed up by boosting training and capacity-building within the criminal justice system, swift and effective implementation of the National Anticorruption Policy, strengthening the protection of whistle-blowers and broadening the anti- graft initiatives at the state level.

Vulnerabilities and areas for reform

vulnerabilities and areas for reform mexico
  1. First-time graduation rate for students below the age of 25.

  2. LAC-5 refer to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. Graduation rate data are missing for Peru.

Women’s participation in the labour market remains low, hampering growth and inclusiveness (Panel A), and the COVID-19 crisis has further deteriorated their labour market prospects. Expanding access to good quality and affordable childcare would offer a double dividend of boosting the low participation of women in the labour market and reducing educational inequalities. At the same time, refocusing spending to primary and secondary education and targeting it at poor neighbourhoods and disadvantaged students would help to improve the weak education outcomes (Panel B), revitalise productivity and improve equality of opportunities.

Mexico: Summary of Going for Growth priorities and recommendations

mexico summary of going for growth priorities and recommendations mexico summary of going for growth priorities and recommendations

Recent progress on structural reforms

The programme of the new government implied a change in priorities, resulting in ongoing reforms in some areas being modified and several programmes in key areas being replaced. This implied a greater focus during 2019-20 on reviewing existing programmes and designing new ones. The fight against corruption has received greater emphasis.


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