Author | Editor: Roshelli, E. (NSI, Inc.)
Two datasets on wealth and status distribution in Mexico were analyzed: 2016 World Bank quintile and decile estimates of income, and income by occupation data from the Mexican Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) for 2017.
Overall, with the exception of a small proportion of middle-low income members of society the data shows a Mexican population that is risk accepting, with the poorest and wealthiest Mexicans having the greatest proclivity towards risk.
Significance for Risk Taking and Stability
Data demonstrate an extremely high degree of risk taking for the wealthiest sector of the population. Mexico experiences high amounts of corruption and strong influence from the numerous drug cartels in the country, and excessive amounts of violence as a result of the drug trafficking which has a serious impact on national stability. Risk taking among the poorest segments of the population is represented in the numerous migrants seeking asylum in the US due to gang violence and lack of economic growth opportunities.
Implications for US Interests
The Mexican population demonstrates a high propensity for risk and is notably fragile according to the 2018 Fragile States Index. A continued increase in the number of migrants coming from the Northern Triangle has put a strain on the already difficult situation at the US-Mexico border leading to higher tension on US-Mexico relations. With evidence of China increasing trade ties with Mexican markets it is possible that unresolved tensions between the US and Mexico and changes in US trade policy may help facilitate an increase in Sino-Mexican trade relations. Moreover, legalization of marijuana in some areas of the US has increased the number of drug trafficking organizations focused on producing and selling more dangerous drugs like opioids (Lee, Renwick, & Labrador, 2019). Despite state fragility and possibly cleavages, the US’ position as Mexico’s largest trade partner and greatest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) creates some security for US interests (Congressional Research Service, 2019).
Implications for China’s Interests
Recent changes in US trade policy and a desire, by Mexico, to reduce its dependence on the US may provide an opportunity for China to increase market share in Mexico (Ellis, 2019). Some talks in 2018 indicated that Mexico has considered partaking in the Belt and Road Initiative which would have significant implications for Sino-Mexican relations (Nathanson, 2018). China is still likely to have trouble building out a mutually beneficial relationship though as the two countries compete in similar production markets.
Implications for Russia’s Interests
Russia’s interests in Mexico comes as part of a continued national interest in Latin America as a whole powered by the desire to destabilize the pro-US leanings of the region (Koven & Kamp, 2019; Ellis, 2019). Russian involvement in Mexico’s 2018 election was a noted event pointing towards deeper interest by the Kremlin in Mexico than previously demonstrated (Koven & Kamp, 2019). Koven and Kamp (2019) explain that Russian influence in Mexico is rational as a technique for countering US influence in the region. Due to Mexico’s high-risk propensity and already unsatisfied citizens, Russian hacking likely had very little influence on the election outcome of its leftist president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (often referred to as AMLO) in 2018 (Koven & Kamp, 2019).