Assessing the Multi-Faceted Reforms of Mexico's 4T

AMLO's 4T reforms in Mexico span energy independence, labor rights, and robust social programs. Despite legal hurdles, state-backed enterprises strengthen, minimum wages rise, and millions benefit from innovative welfare initiatives. Public support remains strong.

Assessing the Multi-Faceted Reforms of Mexico's 4T
President AMLO's energy reforms bolster state-owned enterprises, ensuring Mexico's energy stability and independence. Image by Mike Ramírez Mx from Pixabay

Since assuming office, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has been resolute in his pursuit of a “true change” for Mexico. The Fourth Transformation (4T) has witnessed significant reforms across various sectors, particularly in energy, social policies, and labor legislation. In this article, we will delve into the impactful reforms that have characterized AMLO's presidency, analyzing their outcomes and the challenges faced.

Energy Reforms:

While the much-anticipated constitutional reform on electricity faced hurdles, the approval of the Hydrocarbons Law and the Electricity Industry Law in 2021 marked a turning point in Mexico's energy landscape. These laws aimed to bring order to the electricity market and ensure a stable energy supply. Notably, they strengthened state-owned enterprises such as Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) and Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), reversing a trend of decline over the past three decades.

PEMEX and CFE experienced administrative modifications and increased public investment, stabilizing oil production at around 2 million barrels per day. CFE's role in electric energy dispatch surged from 35% to 50%, coupled with a renegotiation of contracts with private entities. Despite legal challenges from the Supreme Court, a CELAG survey reflects broad public support, with 64.4% favoring state management of PEMEX and CFE.

Social and Labor Reforms:

The 4T reforms extended beyond the energy sector, encompassing education and labor legislation. The educational reform eliminated privatization tendencies, secured teacher employment, and prioritized indigenous education. Simultaneously, the labor reform addressed issues from the 2012 overhaul, prohibiting outsourcing and significantly increasing the minimum wage.

The labor market witnessed positive trends, with Mexico ranking as the third country globally with the lowest unemployment rates. However, informal employment remains a challenge, affecting 32.2 million Mexicans in 2023. Despite this, the minimum wage surged from 88 pesos a day in 2018 to 207 pesos a day (312 pesos on the northern border) in 2023, countering the neoliberal trend of wage stagnation.

Social Programs and Welfare:

AMLO's administration prioritized social programs, benefitting millions of Mexicans. The 2023 CELAG survey indicates widespread public approval, with 70.2% believing these programs enhance family conditions. Some notable programs include:

  1. Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro: More than $350 provided to beneficiaries, with 62% securing permanent employment. A staggering $5.847 billion investment since 2019, surpassing allocations in the six previous six-year terms.
  2. Scholarships: 12 million scholarships from preschool to postgraduate level, totaling an investment of $4.912 billion, contributing to educational access and advancement.
  3. Senior Citizens Pension: Elevated to constitutional status in 2020, benefiting over 10.5 million seniors with a bimonthly pension of $280 by August 2023, nearly doubling the number of beneficiaries since 2018.
  4. Sembrando Vida: Supporting 440,990 beneficiaries for forest recovery, showcasing the government's commitment to environmental sustainability.


The 4T reforms under AMLO have reshaped Mexico's political and economic landscape, from energy independence to social welfare. Despite legal challenges and persisting issues like informal employment, the administration's commitment to transformative policies has garnered significant public support. As Mexico navigates the challenges ahead, the lasting impact of these reforms on the nation's future remains a topic of keen interest.