Mexico Institute Welcomes Global Fellow David A. Shirk

Mexico Institute Logo10/08/2013

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is pleased to announce David A. Shirk as the first Mexico Institute Wilson Center Global Fellow, a newly created non-residential scholars program. The Global Fellows program seeks to strengthen the Wilson Center’s global network of thought-leaders who can produce research, timely analysis, and new ideas to amplify the mission and goals of the Center. These non-residential fellows will contribute to the ongoing work of the Center’s programs and serve as an integral part of the overall intellectual community of the Wilson Center.

Dr. Shirk is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Principal Investigator for the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego. Dr. Shirk’s work has focused on promoting security and judicial reform, and the rule of law in Mexico. Through this leadership the Justice in Mexico project has developed a unique series of reports that track drug violence in Mexico at the national, state and local level. Dr. Shirk’s previous work with the Institute culminated in two edited volumes, produced in conjunction with Mexico Institute staff: Police and Public Security in Mexico and Shared Responsibility: U.S.-Mexico Policy Options for Confronting Organized Crime.

Duncan Wood, Director of the Mexico Institute said “We are thrilled to have David join our team as a Global Fellow. He is a leading voice on Mexico and multiple aspects of the bilateral relationship and his research and expertise have proved pivotal in shaping the policy debate on U.S.-Mexico security cooperation. There is no one better equipped to head up our work on security and justice in Mexico.”

David Shirk will be collaborating with Mexico Institute staff on an ongoing project examining civil society responses to organized crime and violence in Mexico, and will be coordinating important new research and publications on Mexican security and justice in 2014.

For a link to this story on the Mexico Institute webpage, click here.


Peña Nieto’s fiscal reform and the consolidation of the Grand Bargain-The Expert Take

Expert TakeBy Duncan Wood

On the evening of Sunday September8th, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced his government’s much awaited fiscal reform package, which he had sent to the nation’s congress earlier that day. To the surprise of many, the proposal was ambitious, far-reaching and opted not to apply the national sales tax (IVA) to food and medicine, which had been seen by many as the only viable option available for raising tax revenue for the government. Mexico suffers from one of the lowest tax takes of all the OECD countries, with non-oil tax revenue reaching only 12-13% of GDP. Even when combined with substantial monies collected from the national oil company, Pemex, government revenue in Mexico has only been able to reach a paltry 19% of GDP.

The fiscal reform package laid out by the government is focused on increasing revenue, increasing government spending on social programs, and on forcing the wealthier elements of Mexican society to pay more taxes. The government has promised to provide universal social security and pension coverage, unemployment insurance, universal health care and increased spending on education. Each of these will be embodied in a constitutional reform. Pemex will also see a reduced tax rate, falling from 70% to 60%.

Continue reading “Peña Nieto’s fiscal reform and the consolidation of the Grand Bargain-The Expert Take”

CONTEXT Video: Energy Reform in Mexico

photo2The Economist compared Mexico’s attitude toward state ownership of oil to America’s tradition of gun ownership concluding that both are, “steeped in history.” In such cases, change is never easy. But the country’s oil reserves in the easy-to-access shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico are running low. The state-run gas and oil giant, Pemex, hasn’t been able to muster the expertise or funding to address the problem.

So President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed changing the constitution to allow private investment in Mexico’s oil industry. Is Mexico ready for such an historic move and what might the proposed reforms accomplish? To gain perspective on these and other questions, we spoke with Mexico Institute Director, Duncan Wood.

To view the video click here.

Youth Gang Prevention in Mexico

handcuffsBy Nathan Jones, 8/28/2013

Read Nathan Jones most recent paper “Understanding and Addressing Youth in “Gangs” in Mexico” published by the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute  

Mexico’s struggle with organized crime has consumed much of the policy agenda in the administrations of Felipe Calderón and now, Enrique Peña Nieto.  Academics and policy analysts looking beyond the battles with high-level organized crime groups have identified street gangs in Mexico as a potential looming security threat.

After conducting interviews with gang experts in Mexico, I discovered that security- centric responses often exacerbate the problem.  Mexico would be better served by a long-term development and human rights oriented strategy to address the problem of youths in gangs.  Indeed, at least rhetorically, the new Peña Nieto administration recognizes this and has discussed plans to apply this strategy more broadly.  Whether rhetoric will become reality will depend upon the administration’s commitment to these long-term policies.

Continue reading “Youth Gang Prevention in Mexico”

President Obama’s Upcoming Visit to Mexico: Related Resources

CoverPhotoWe are pleased to share with you the following resources and analysis in advance of President Obama’s trip to Mexico.

Media Briefing
On Friday, April 26th experts from the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and Latin American Program participated in a media briefing on Obama’s trip to Mexico and Costa Rica.

  • Audio and a transcript from the briefing are available here

Opinion Survey
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, in conjunction with the Woodrow Wilson Center, released a public opinion survey brief on Americans’ views toward Mexico. The survey results suggest that increased public awareness of bilateral endeavors could boost support for increased economic and energy integration in the future.

  • A PDF of the survey is available here.

Continue reading “President Obama’s Upcoming Visit to Mexico: Related Resources”

New Working Paper Series: Civic Engagement and Public Security in Mexico

newspapers thumbnailThe Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute are pleased to launch a working paper series on civic engagement and public security in Mexico.

The working papers analyze the range of civic engagement experiences taking place in Mexico to strengthen the rule of law and increase security in the face of organized crime violence.  In the coming weeks and months, the Mexico Institute and Trans-Border Institute will release papers that address topics relating to civic participation and public security, including citizen oversight of police professionalization, community-based efforts to respond to youth gang violence, Mexico’s victim’s movements, and citizen roles in implementing judicial reform in Mexico.  Together the commissioned papers will form the basis of an edited volume.

Continue reading “New Working Paper Series: Civic Engagement and Public Security in Mexico”

THIS SUNDAY on Dialogue at the Wilson Center

North AmericaAmerica’s Borders North & South

Sunday, April 7th, 10:30 am (EST)

This week on Dialogue at the Wilson Center we present a discussion of America’s borders. We begin with a look northward. Our guest is the director of the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute David Biette. We also turn our sights south to the U.S.-Mexico border with Christopher Wilson, an associate with the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute.

Watch live stream here.

TV Broadcast: Washington, DC and national.