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  • Sandra Kuntz-Ficker (a1)

The purpose of this work is to correct an error contained in the historical record of Mexico’s GDP which has led to underestimate considerably the progress achieved by industrialisation in the Mexican economy before the Great Depression, also distorting its position within the Latin American context. This error consists in the misleading identification of industry with manufacture, ignoring the contribution to Mexican industrial production made by the metallurgical sector. By incorporating the value added from metallurgy to the net output of manufacture the share of industry in GDP grows accordingly, placing Mexico among the most industrialised countries of Latin America by the end of the export era.


El propósito de este trabajo es corregir un error en el registro histórico de la evolución sectorial del PIB de México que ha llevado a subestimar el grado de industrialización que alcanzó la economía mexicana antes de la Gran Depresión, distorsionando asimismo la posición de este país en el contexto latinoamericano. El error consiste en la identificación errónea de industria con manufactura, ignorando la contribución a la producción industrial realizada por la actividad metalúrgica. Al incorporar el valor agregado de la metalurgia al producto neto de la manufactura, la contribución porcentual de la industria al PIB aumenta en forma significativa, lo que coloca a México entre los países más industrializados de América Latina hacia el final de la era de las exportaciones.

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The author wishes to acknowledge valuable research assistance by Mario Alberto Naranjo. The author deeply appreciate the comments and suggestions made by Enrique Cárdenas, Carlos Marichal and Paolo Riguzzi. Needless to say, all possible mistakes remain my own.


El Colegio de México – Centro de Estudios Históricos, Camino al Ajusco 20 Colonia Pedregal de Santa Teresa Delegación Tlalpan, C.P. Mexico Federal District 10740, Mexico.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

L. Bértola , and J. Williamson (2006): «Globalization in Latin America before 1940», in V. BULMER-THOMAS, J. COATSWORTH, and R. CORTÉS CONDE (eds), The Cambridge Economic History of Latin America. Vol. II The Long Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 11-56.

V. Bulmer-Thomas (1987): The Political Economy of Central America Since 1920. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

V. Bulmer-Thomas (2014): The Economic History of Latin America since Independence, (3rd edn). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

A. Gómez Galvarriato , and J. Williamson (2009): «Was it Prices, Productivity or Policy? Latin American Industrialisation after 1870». Journal of Latin America Studies 41 (4), 663-694.

S. Haber (2006): «The Political Economy of Industrialization», in V. BULMER-THOMAS, J. COATSWORTH, and R. CORTÉS CONDE (eds), The Cambridge Economic History of Latin America. Vol. II The Long Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 537-584.

P. Riguzzi (2009): «From Globalization to Revolution? The Porfirian Political Economy: An Essay on Issues and Interpretations». Journal of Latin American Studies 41, pp. 347-368.

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Revista de Historia Economica - Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History
  • ISSN: 0212-6109
  • EISSN: 2041-3335
  • URL: /core/journals/revista-de-historia-economica-journal-of-iberian-and-latin-american-economic-history
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