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The University of Texas at Austin

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

New Federalism and State Government in Mexico

New Federalism and State Government in Mexico

By Peter M. Ward, Victoria Rodríguez and Enrique Cabrero Mendoza

The close ties between Texas and Mexico make imperative an informed analysis of Mexico's democratization and governance changes at federal, state, and city levels. In 1999, after seventy years of virtual one-party rule, almost three fifths of the Mexican population are governed by opposition (non-PRI) parties, including eight of the 31 states and the Federal District.

This book is the first systematic analysis of state governance in Mexico. Building upon their earlier work on local governments, the authors analyze President Zedillo's efforts since 1995 to reduce excessive centralization and presidentialism through a "New Federalism" initiative. Undertaking a detailed comparative analysis of six states across several regions (Baja California, Chihuahua, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Puebla and Oaxaca), this book provides a baseline study of several policy arenas: fiscal policy and revenue sharing; modernization of government; decentralization of public education; and the emergence of co-governance through a system of checks-and-balances among the governor, local legislature, and judiciary.

The authors conclude that while important and genuine changes are afoot, the federal government continues to exercise control over revenue sharing. In combination with its ability to earmark projects, this effectively restricts the autonomy of state government. Nor do the authors expect this scenario to change, even though a former state governor will become President in 2000. Moreover, it appears likely that each of the three principal parties will seek to ensure that the federal government remains the dominant actor in Mexico's New Federalist system — in spite of "bringing the states back in."

U.S. Mexican Policy Reports Series No. 9
1999 / 6" x 9" / 206 pp.
ISBN-10: 0-89940-330-1
Publication Code (MPR-9)


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