The Global Studies Seminar presents “Property Institutions and Income Inequality in Mexico” by Denison University’s Assistant Professor of Economics Adam Walke.
The privatization of communal property has played an important role in the formation of capitalist economies in many parts of the world. This research focuses on that process in the case of Mexico. Historical literature is reviewed to understand how the privatization of communal property under Mexico’s 1856 Lerdo Law exacerbated land loss and inequality. That episode inspired subsequent efforts to reverse the effects of privatization through the creation of a new form of communal property known as ejidos during and after the Mexican Revolution. In 1992, the Mexican Constitution was amended to allow the privatization of ejidos. The main research finding is that municipalities with larger relative declines in ejido and agrarian community membership (as a percentage of population) and more land sales to non-ejido-members experienced larger increases in income inequality.
Walke obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, in 2002. He spent many subsequent years in El Paso, directly across the Río Grande from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Living and working in the Mexico-US border region prompted many questions about the complex interdependence of regional economies and communities on opposite sides of the international boundary. Seeking answers to these questions, he completed an MS in Economics at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he subsequently worked as a researcher from 2011 to 2018 examining cross-border economic linkages. In 2023 he received a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from Colorado State University, where he taught International Trade, International Finance, and Intermediate Macroeconomics, among other courses. His research interests lie generally in the areas of international economics and political economy.