In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Mexican Political Development

  • Introduction
  • Data Sources
  • General Texts and Popular Press

Political Science Mexican Political Development
Sharon F. Lean, Alanna Jackson
  • LAST REVIEWED: 05 March 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0108


Distinctive characteristics of the Mexican political regime—corporatism and clientelism, the successful subordination of the military to civilian rule, problems of corruption, and election fraud—have long fascinated scholars. For decades, these issues were studied through the lens of hegemonic party rule. The actions of the ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and the president, in particular, were held to explain most outcomes. Since the 1990s, Mexico has undergone profound political, economic, and social transformations, and the research agenda has evolved in tandem with these changes. The political system, once dominated by a single party with power hyper-centralized in the figure of the president, has slowly transformed itself into a competitive multiparty democracy with growing checks and balances and complex intergovernmental politics. In the economic sphere, the shift from state-led development to neoliberalism has generated some growth, reinforced inequalities, and created new challenges for public policy. New social actors including popular movements, independent labor unions, and civil society organizations have emerged as both cause and effect of political and economic changes. Despite these transformations, serious challenges remain for Mexico’s political development, including persistent poverty and growing socioeconomic inequality, violence related to the illegal trafficking of narcotics, and serious and grave human rights violations carried out by state and other actors with impunity. The scholarly literature on Mexico’s political development is well developed, rich, and varied. Some of the best scholarship on politics and policy comes from top Mexican research universities, such as El Colegio de México, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), and Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). Key works are often available in English translation. Many international scholars also specialize in the study of Mexican politics. This article is divided into five sections: Data Sources, General Texts and Popular Press, Political Institutions, Political Behavior, and Political Economy. Scholars may also be interested in the Oxford Bibliographies article “Democratization in Mexico.”

Data Sources

Many institutions and organizations provide access to data related to Mexican political development. Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía and Instituto Nacional Electoral are indispensable sources for official socioeconomic and electoral data. Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo, A.C. also provides election data in an easy-to-use format. Latin America Public Opinion Project, Banco de Información para la Investigación Aplicada en Ciencias Sociales, and the Mexico Panel Studies are among the best sources of public opinion data.

  • Banco de Información para la Investigación Aplicada en Ciencias Sociales (BIIACS).

    BIIACS is a free, online, easily searchable data archive maintained by the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas. The collection includes survey data from a variety of university and private sector firms covering a range of economic, political, and social issues.

  • Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo, A.C. (CIDAC) Base de Datos Electorales.

    CIDAC is an independent think tank. Among CIDAC’s projects is a searchable archive of downloadable election results from municipal, gubernatorial, and federal legislative elections from 1985 to 2012. Each record includes the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) code for state and municipality, allowing researchers to merge this data with sociodemographic, geographical, and economic data reported by INEGI.

  • Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE).

    INE is responsible for organizing federal elections in Mexico and maintaining the Sistema de Consulta de la Estadística de las Elecciones Federales, an extensive collection of election-related data including federal and state election results from 1991–2017, interactive voter turnout maps, and data on the partisan composition of the legislature.

  • Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI).

    INEGI is the national institution responsible for collecting, integrating, and analyzing statistical, geographical, and informatics data for Mexico and administering the national census. The website provides interactive access to data on geography, economics, employment, and government. Includes census data, gross domestic product (GDP) and national accounts, and a single catalogue of state, municipal, and local geostatistics.

  • Latin America Public Opinion Project (LAPOP).

    LAPOP conducts rigorous national public opinion surveys in twenty-eight countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. For Mexico, the LAPOP website offers data, questionnaires, and technical information, as well as reports and data analysis from six waves of the AmericasBarometer survey (2004–2014), as well as two earlier surveys from 1978 and 1979.

  • Mexico Panel Studies.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Mexico panel studies (available for 2000, 2006, and 2012 federal elections) are multiple-wave survey research projects, comparable in scope to the American National Election Studies. These are an excellent resource for scholars working on campaigns, public opinion, voting behavior, and political communication.

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