Wilfrido Ruiz Ochoa, Gabriel Tapia Tovar, M. Ángel Vite Pérez y Redi Gomis (Coords.). (2015). Agrupamientos productivos y redes empresariales en México. Visión regional y experiencias de caso. Mexico: Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (UM SNH), Facultad de Economía “Vasco de Quiroga” Centro de Investigaciones Económicas, Administrativas y Sociales (CIECAS). ISBN 978-607-8116-38-6

Salvador González Andrade1

1 El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Departamento de Estudios Económicos, e-mail:

Original review language: Spanish.

The book reviews and analyzes some of the factors influencing the regional and national economic development, such as: formation of clusters, business networks and the impact of economic growth on the environment. This work brings together a set of eight studies that addresses various approaches to analysis of the determinants of growth in manufacturing and other significant economic branches in the country. Also, it includes other local studies where social and territorial processes converge, influencing growth and regional economic development. The arguments of the authors are mainly based on econometric models and qualitative analysis. The book is divided in three parts; Productivity and externalities consists of two chapters, Business networks and clusters is made up of three chapters and Environmental sustainability and regional development is composed of three chapters. The book coordinators Ruiz, Tapia, Vite and Gomis; although they tried to integrate the topics, they recognize that this integration effort is still incomplete. Most of the contributions are the result of the thesis for obtaining a degree and their mentors in the postgraduate of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte. In the final pages of the book there is a brief presentation of the academic career of each author who made a contribution to this work.

In Chapter 1, Carlos Molina Mandujano and Belem Iliana Vásquez Galán, analyze the factors influencing labor productivity within the manufacturing industry in the states that make up the northern Mexican border. They apply a model that contrasts Verdoorn's law, and through econometric methods, they analyze the effect of growing economies on a scale on manufacturing productivity and competitiveness in labor productivity in the manufacturing industry. Molina and Vásquez conclude that labor competitiveness respond positively to renumbering and foreign direct investment (FDI), the authors add that productivity and qualification of labor are the elements that explain the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry in the states of the northern border.

Mexico and Morocco have multinational companies; due to its location both countries are close to two of the largest consumer markets: The United States and the European Union. In Chapter 2, Marcela V. Martínez Muñoz and María del Rosío Barajas Escamilla analyze the determinants of the growth of manufacturing employment in these two countries from the perspective of static and dynamic regional externalities using panel econometric models, where static externalities are the economies of location and the economies of urbanization, while the dynamic externalities are specialization, urbanization and competition. In this analysis, they find that in both economies, the growth rate of manufacturing is higher in the border states than in the rest of the country, and that the growth of employment in manufactures has some coincidences. The authors claim that even when Morocco and Mexico have adapted their economies to join the world economic system, the efforts of their governments to take advantage of externalities derived from foreign investment that foster permanent benefits for their industries, have been limited with regard to their effects. For this reason, the authors propose that they should be complemented by public policies that consider research and development with local anchorage, as well as the constant training of human capital and internal reorganization of the industry.

The second part of the book begins with Chapter 3, María de los Ángeles Martínez Hoyos, Noé Arón Fuentes Flores and Gabriel González König using the theoretical perspective of endogenous development, the triple helix model and the Schumpeter's theory of the innovative entrepreneur, investigate the factors that influence innovation capacity in the cluster service in Baja California. The authors conclude that innovation does not happen in an isolated way within the company, it depends on both external and internal factors, and that entrepreneurs do not bear the sole responsibility for the results derived from the process of innovation. They claim that coordination is required between employers, institutions and the government to operate an innovation system under the triple helix model. Also, they indicate the need for governmental, academic and commercial instances of Baja California to promote clusters in order to achieve greater development opportunities in the region.

In chapter 4, based on four case studies and using the focused interview as a tool, Joaquín Huitzilihuitl Camacho Vera and Ismael Aguilar Benítez, explain the role of norms and social networks in the confidence of milk producers participating in collective actions in Tecamachalco, Puebla. They note that the collective actions of milk producers are a response to the unfavorable situation of the sale of their product. Producers believe that united and organized they will be "stronger". The authors conclude that the collective projects were based on family relationships and friendship; family ties may become negative factors for the application of standards; norms require to be shared and applied in an effective way to generate confidence, otherwise it generates mistrust, even going so far as to fail. They affirm that the bonds of friendship and neighborhood are extremely important for the beginning of organized groups for the collective action.

In the 5th chapter, Rafael Ruiz Ortega and Wilfrido Ruiz Ochoa analyze the topic of business cooperation networks, about the mango producers of El Rosario and Escuinapa (State of Sinaloa’s municipalities) who establish with other agents of mango’s production and commercialization. On basis of the obtained direct information in field work, plus the statistical and qualitative analysis, the authors show the benefits of the business cooperation networks to motivate the agricultural competitiveness. These first results are consistent with the reported by the dominant literature of the benefits created by the business cooperation (p. 112). In addition, by making use of the econometrics, it is confirmed that the business cooperation networks have a positive impact over the competitiveness levels of producers. Authors conclude that the business cooperation in the production and commercialization of mango is a key for the solution of different problems of the area. Even though most of the cooperative relationships are not as strong and also most of the time, informal. The challenge of public policy is to foment territorial conditions focused to the strengthening of trust.

The third part begins with chapter 6th of Gabriel Tapia Tovar, Ismael Salazar Mosqueda and Miguel Ángel Vite Pérez, who make an assessment of the economic cost of the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) derived from the activities carried out by the forestry sector in Michoacán. They first estimated the state inventory of GHG based on the methodology of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the land use change and forestry category, then incorporate those values into the sectors of the state input-output matrix (MIP) to investigate on the magnitude of the opportunity cost of GHG containment. They conclude that GHG containment would represent a very high opportunity cost, contracting 2.4% of the value of state production (p.140), mainly because the land use change and forestry sector participates with 46% of the emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere of the state (p.138), and as a consequence, a decrease in its activity would negatively impact on the dynamism of those branches with which it is linked. The authors recommend the implementation of policies that oblige the sectors to operate with best environmental practices and that imply a containment of the deforestation rate without jeopardizing the economic development goals. They argue that the federal government must participate more effectively in coordination with the state and municipalities in the planning of a sustainable regional development, where the forestry economic vocation of the entity has a balanced position.

The innovation and implementation of new technologies responds to the need for constant changes that are necessary in the globalized world. However, there are cases in which the implementation of technological changes does not lead to the expected results. In chapter 7th, Paula Caryan González Galván and Alfredo Hualde Alfaro, evaluate the failed initiative of the introduction of a technological change and determine; which were the factors that inhibited the introduction of ecological furnaces in a brickworks community in the municipality of Tecate in Baja California. In that community and in the municipality, one of the main economic activities is the elaboration of materials of clay, through the use of brick kilns. It is well known that this industry impacts negatively on the environment. The authors analyzed three elements present in the processes of technological change: the environment in which the change takes place, the managers that promote it and the users who live the change; based on three theories that address each of these elements: structural inertia, action research and the technological acceptance model. Applying a qualitative methodology and interviews with users (bricklayers) and change managers, the authors identified the main elements that deprived the implementation of the ecological furnaces; which can be improved from the management process. They conclude that management planning can raise the level of acceptance and adoption of an innovation technology, taking into account the stages of: integral diagnosis of the territory, identification of priority problems, alternative solutions derived from participatory processes, implementation and finally, assessments, adjustments and adaptive applications.

In the last chapter, Patricia Rivera and Evelyn Alfaro Rodríguez review throughout history; the water resources management in the city of Zacatecas, affirm that the lack of water in which the city has been involved is explained both; by the physical shortage as well as the administrative shortage and inefficient management of the resource. In the history of water supply in the city, it is identified the differences between a traditional model and a modern model of water supply. The authors state that in the modern system water is extracted in excess, which causes the overexploitation of aquifers. Hence, there is a need to regulate extraction rates as well as to reuse treated water to ensure it to don’t become a scarce resource. The work focuses the discussion on identifying policy actions, the subjects or actors involved, strengths and weaknesses that contributes with several specific proposals to achieve greater success just as growth rates, and improvement of local and regional development levels.

In short, this book contributes to the goal of a major comprehension of social, politics and economics dynamics that determines the regional growth; it points out that we should pay attention not only to the economics major players, but also to the conditions and factors that exist in regions, to take care of their territorial distinctive features. That’s the reason it is advised to take a reflexive lecture of the work.


The author express gratitude for the academic assistance of Ana Gabriela Domínguez Sánchez, a summer student of the scientific research 2016; Delfín Program, El Colef.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Atribución no comercial 4.0 International.