OECD Territorial Reviews: Yucatan, Mexico 2007

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The Mexican state of Yucatán, with its strategically important location near the United States, Central America and the Caribbean, is one of the most dynamic regions in the OECD. Yucatán is also a land of contrasts. It is a lagging but growing region, offering a high quality of life and vast natural resources, yet suffering from problems of sustainability. Its tourism attractions are located in rural areas that do not benefit from them. It has both state and Peninsula medical services, but its health services coverage is uneven. Yucatan is a centre for higher education in the Peninsula, yet its graduates do not find jobs. It has a number of marginalised communities in fragmented administrative bodies, and although the Peninsular states share a common cultural heritage and attractiveness, their institutions do not co-operate.

Clearly, Yucatán is not taking full advantage of its many resources, and in fact, challenges in the region threaten to undermine local assets. Among these is the need to upgrade activities to higher value-added innovation and design processes, and to foster primary activities to reach international markets. While the state government has proposed programmes to spur formalisation of the informal economy, measures such as better regulation, cutting red tape and providing employment opportunities and access to formal credit could have a greater impact. The lack of a shared, coherent long-term vision is a fundamental challenge to improving regional competitiveness and social cohesion in Yucatán. The OECD’s recommendations can only be part of a larger strategy to develop a collective vision of the state’s future.

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Opportunities and Challenges for Development

OECD regions show diverse economic performance and income. Despite the OECD groups 30 of the most developed economies in the world, regional performance and development is far from homogenous. An analysis of the 324 TL2 regions in the OECD reveals that there are at least 4 types of regions based on their performance.1 The first type that can be identified is the rich and performing group of regions among which DC, Delaware, Wyoming or California in the USA, Luxembourg, Bolzano-Bozen and Emilia-Romagna in Italy, or the Northwest Territories or Newfoundland in Canada which not only have incomes above the OECD average but also outstrip the mean in terms of growth (See quadrant 1 in Figure 1.1). The second group is comprised by rich but underperforming regions among which Brussels in Belgium, Hamburg and Bremen in Germany, Vienna in Austria, Alaska in the USA or Alberta in Canada which have an above- OECD-average income but have been growing slower than the OECD average (See quadrant II in Figure 1.1). The third type can be described as lagging and underperforming regions which not only have below-OECDaverage incomes, but also have been growing slowly such as Okinawa in Japan, Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey, Berlin in Germany or Severovychod in the Czech Republic (see quadrant III in Figure 1.1). The fourth group are lagging regions that have been dynamic and in many cases the fastest growing regions in the OECD such as Bratislava in the Slovak Republic, Kosep-Magyarorszag in Hungary, the Border-Midlands-West and Southern and East regions in Ireland, Zonguldak in Turkey, or Yucatán in Mexico (see quadrant IV in Figure 1.1).


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