Modeling production externalities in the maquila industry

Becky Zerlentes, Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Stephan Weiler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the past decade, the maquiladora export industry surpassed both tourism and petroleum products to become the number one source of earned foreign exchange for Mexico. The continued growth of the maquila industry suggests that there may be significant production spillovers into the local environments. Dynamic modeling, using STELLA, provides a framework for quantifying the environmental impacts emanating from the growth of the maquila industry, focusing on wastewater treatment consequences and resulting infrastructural policy considerations. Such detailed modeling of industrial, infrastructural, and ecological linkages has not yet been a feature of research on this region, despite the potential for significant human health ramifications. An environmental model is therefore developed for two focal urban communities, Nogales and Mexicali, facing potential wastewater treatment concerns due to the growth of nearby maquila factories. In the former case, the analysis revealed the inadequacy of the capacity planning for the treatment of effluent; in the latter case, conservative projections reveal that the system upgrades should be able to handle demands through 2020.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-835
Number of pages14
JournalEcological Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 15 2009


  • Environment-economic interactions
  • Externalities
  • Marquila

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling production externalities in the maquila industry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this