Economic behavior of indigenous peoples: the Mexican case

Indigenous peoples have three features in common: their historical heritage, their current culture and their extreme poverty. This paper written by Juan Carlos Pérez Velasco Pavón, presents a hypothesis about the development of a cultural factor: indigenous people prefer to work on a small scale. This cultural factor developed during the colonial period and remains a part of current indigenous culture. To test the hypothesis, I elaborated a trade model and an economic growth model that take into account the cultural factor. As predicted, the results help to explain indigenous peoples’ poverty. This article includes empirical evidence about Mexico’s indigenous population.

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Latin American Economic Review aims to be the leading general interest journal on topics relevant to Latin America. The journal welcomes high-quality theoretical and quantitative papers on economic, social and political-economy issues with a regional focus. Articles presenting new data bases or describing structural reforms within a rigorous theoretical framework will also be considered. A few (illustrative) examples of topics that may be of special interest to this journal include: inflation, informal sector, corruption, crime, drug policy, unions, social exclusion, price controls, energy and environmental policy, natural resources, and technology transfer.