Electoral Competition, Globalization, and Subnational Education Spending in Mexico, 1999–2004


  • I thank Wendy Hunter, Neil J. Mitchell, Mark Peceny, Kenneth M. Roberts, and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, and Carlos Ornelas for his considerable help while in Mexico. I also gratefully acknowledge support for this research from the National Science Foundation Award SES-0317942 and the Social Science Research Council with funds provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

R. Douglas Hecock is assistant professor of political science, Bucknell University, Coleman Hall, Lewisburg, PA 17837 (rdh013@bucknell.edu).


This article examines the determinants of primary education spending among 29 Mexican states from 1999 to 2004. There is wide variation in spending despite expectations of policy convergence due to market forces associated with globalization, and in spite of the unique potential of education spending to complement economic strategies in achieving equitable growth. This study exploits significant advantages of subnational analysis in exploring political and economic variables that have been useful in explaining spending levels cross-nationally. Consistent with these studies, this article shows that greater electoral competition leads to increased spending. In contrast to other work, however, this study finds that exposure to the global economy has distinctly mixed effects on education spending. These findings thus further highlight the positive returns to higher “quality” democracy, while underscoring the need to examine the effects of many different aspects of globalization representing a wide variety of strategies employed by governments in engaging the international economy.