- Center for Migration and Development
- PIIRS Migration Lab
- Program in Latino Studies
The performance of two key Mexican institutions — tax administration, SAT, and civil aviation authority, AFAC — seems contrasting. Whereas SAT became more effective and efficient during the last decade, raising more revenue at decreasing costs, AFAC struggled to ensure the safety and security of airports and flights. The contrast became especially acute under the López Obrador administration. While SAT was able to maintain its revenue raising capacity even during the COVID-19 emergency, AFAC was degraded from category 1 to 2 (“does not comply with international standards”) by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority. At a deeper level, however, the contrast is less acute. The López Obrador administration has shown little sympathy for many public and private institutions, instead opting for the personalization of power and seeking the support of the armed forces. To promote the practical performance of institutions — achieving their concrete goals — the government has put them under the control of civilian or military loyalists, who concentrate the institution’s regulative and punitive capacities on the most vulnerable or profitable activities and sectors. Thus, practical performance is achieved, if at all, at the expense of institutional integrity — respect for rules, expertise, meritocracy and the like. Even when productive in the short-term, this strategy is obviously detrimental to institutional development.