Just one generation ago, lawyers dominated Mexico's political elite, and Mexican ecomists were a relatively powerless group of mostly leftist nationalists. Today, in contrast, the country is famous, or perhaps infamous, for being run by American-trained neoclassical ecomists. In 1993, the Ecomist suggested that Mexico had the most ecomically literate government in the world--a trend that has continued since Mexico's transition to multi-party democracy. To the accompanying fanfare of U.S. politicians and foreign investors, these techcrats embarked on the ambitious program of privatization, deregulation, budget-cutting, and opening to free trade--all in keeping with the prescriptions of mainstream American ecomics. This book chronicles the evolution of ecomic expertise in Mexico over the course of the twentieth century, showing how internationally credentialed experts came to set the agenda for the Mexican ecomics profession and to dominate Mexican ecomic policymaking. It also reveals how the familiar language of Mexico's new experts overlays a professional structure that is still alien to most American ecomists.Sarah Babb mines diverse sources--including Mexican undergraduate theses, historical documents, and personal interviews--to address issues relevant t only to Latin American studies, but also to the sociology of professions, political sociology, ecomic sociology, and neoinstitutionalist sociology. She demonstrates with skill how peculiarly national circumstances shape what ecomic experts think and do. At the same time, Babb shows how globalization can erode national systems of ecomic expertise in developing countries, creating a new class of global experts.
Sarah L. Babb is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Boston College. She is the coauthor of Economy/Society: Markets, Meanings, and Social Structure and the author of a number of articles on economic and political sociology. She was the recipient of the American Sociological Association's annual dissertation award for 1999.
Winner of Viviana Zelizer Distinguished Book Award in Economic Sociology, American Sociological Association 2004 (United States).