maquiladoras (mäkē´lädō´räs), Mexican assembly plants that manufacture finished goods for export to the United States. The maquiladoras are generally owned by non-Mexican corporations. They take advantage of plentiful lower-cost Mexican labor, advantageous tariff regulations (lessened somewhat as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement), and close proximity to U.S. markets to produce such items as home appliances and automobiles. Starting on a small scale in the mid-1960s, the maquiladoras were initially almost entirely located in the N border region of Mexico. They grew dramatically after Mexico substantially revised its economic regulations concerning foreign investment in the early 1980s. From 1983 to 1990, the maquiladora industry grew at approximately 20% annually, and it grew even more sharply with the U.S. economic boom in the late 1990s; it is one of Mexico's primary sources of foreign exchange. The maquiladoras stimulated rapid population migration to the border region, particularly at its eastern and western extremities (Matamoros/Brownsville and Tijuana/San Diego). After 2000 the number of plants and workers they employed declined; in 2002 some 3,600 plants employed approximately 960,000 workers. Beginning in the late 1990s an increasing number of the plants were located in the Mexican heartland, and many plants now use automation extensively.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Maquiladoras: Selected full-text books and articles

For We Are Sold, I and My People: Women and Industry in Mexico's Frontier By María Patricia Fernández-Kelly State University of New York Press, 1983
Librarian's tip: Includes discussion of maquiladoras in multiple chapters
Do Maquiladoras Matter? By Wilson, David L Monthly Review, Vol. 49, No. 5, October 1997
Mexico and Mexico City in the World Economy By Edgar W. Butler; James B. Pick; W. James Hettrick Westview Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: Chap. 9 "Maquiladoras"
The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border By David Bacon University of California Press, 2004
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Tijuana's Maquiladora Workers"
On the Rim of Mexico: Encounters of the Rich and Poor By Ramón Eduardo Ruiz Westview Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: Discussion of maquiladoras begins on p. 61
"They Are the Experts:" a Workers' Agenda for Social Change in Mexico's Maquiladoras By Huesca, Robert Canadian Journal of Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Vol. 31, No. 62, July 2006
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