• Michoacán;
  • Mexico;
  • PurÉpecha region;
  • road network;
  • transportation;
  • wooden crafts

ABSTRACT. The PurÉpecha region of Michoacán State, in west-central Mexico, has a strong tradition of craft production, especially wooden items. Transportation improvements in the region since the mid-twentieth century have led to a higher level of integration of the regional economy, yet access to the broader Mexican market remains limited. Towns throughout the region have experienced substantial changes in the types of crafts produced, the extent of their local and external markets, and the location of craft production. Transportation improvements have, in part, led to agglomeration economies and a resultant contraction in the number of different types and an increase in the volume of the crafts produced. Market changes have led to the proliferation of craft storefronts in towns with higher levels of accessibility. Conversely, remote towns still rely heavily on distributors and have not been able to expand their markets. As a result, the region has seen the development of a two-tiered system whereby towns with increased accessibility have viable craft industries and towns with limited accessibility struggle with stagnant craft industries.