MEPP: Improving Transparency and Social Cohesion in Mexico
- Mexico faces challenges that hinder its economic growth and social cohesion.
- Led by Abt, MEPP collaborated with government and local institutions to improve conditions.
- The country’s transparency and civic empowerment improved through public accountability.
Mexico, the world’s 15th-largest economy, moved up in World Economic Forum rankings in 2016, thanks to gains in innovation, business, and financial markets. However, the country still faced significant challenges that hindered its economic growth and social cohesion, such as corruption.
Mexico Economic Policy Program (MEPP), led by Abt Associates, works with Mexico’s National Digital Strategy Coordination (CEDN) unit within the Office of the Presidency to operate Red MX Abierto, or Open Mexico Network, a centralized networked platform launched in 2014 that gives local governments practical resources to upload public data. MEPP collaborates with government counterparts and local institutions to:
- Help federal and local government offices make public data available on a platform that increases citizens’ access;
- Support government initiatives to use electronic platforms to report regulatory corruption and create policy solutions for user-identified problems; and
- Strengthen Mexican regulatory agencies’ capacity to investigate collusion and other anti-competitive practices and enforce the country’s competition laws.
From its start, MEPP used a multi-faceted approach to improve the country’s transparency and open government, focusing on productivity, business regulation, competition and entrepreneurship, access to capital, commercial transactions, and citizen engagement. Through the MEPP-developed Corruption Risk Index, stakeholders found that political connections—rather than changes in technology, innovation, or efficiency—drive contractual decisions. The project also led to governance reforms to make public contracting more transparent, competitive, and equitable.
MEPP’s second phase, launched in mid-2016, shifted its focus to more targeted transparency and anti-corruption initiatives that improve public accountability. We also worked to foster a culture of civic engagement through innovative social behavior change and youth engagement approaches.