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Small and medium cities and development of Mexican rural areas

Julio Berdegue () and Isidro Soloaga ()

World Development, 2018, vol. 107, issue C, 277-288

Abstract: Like the rest of Latin America, Mexico is a highly-urbanized country. Yet rural populations, geographies and economic activities continue to play a significant role in national development, while there are persistent and large rural-urban inequalities in well-being and opportunities. Promoting rural-urban linkages has been proposed as a strategy to reduce spatial inequalities, but there is much academic and policy debate about whether urban development has positive (spread) or negative (backwash) effects on rural development. This could translate into synergistic or predatory urban-rural linkages. This study examines how proximity to cities, and population and per capita income in cities, affect population growth and welfare in rural places in Mexico. Using data for 2000 and 2010, our findings include: (a) 75% of rural people live within 90 min of an urban area, and 60% within 60 min; (b) proximity to a city increases rural population growth and welfare; (c) adverse (backwash) effects on rural areas due to increases in urban per capita income are very small and of no economic significance; (d) cities with populations in the 350,000–500,000 range appear to have more positive effects on rural areas than smaller or larger cities; (e) rural localities interact with multiple urban places simultaneously.

Keywords: Urban-rural linkages; Mexico; Latin America; Spread and backwash effects; Intermediate cities (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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