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December 10 , 2009

Measuring Cuban Economic Performance


Analysts attempting to assess economic growth in revolutionary Cuba are faced with two formidable obstacles: (1) official macroeconomic indicators published by the government are scarce and sometimes inconsistent because of frequent changes in the method of calculation; and (2) these indicators are not compatible with those produced by market economies because of differences in national income concepts. Because of these obstacles, it is difficult to analyze the performance of Cuba’s economy over time and to compare its economic performance directly with that of other nations.Using a variant of the method developed by Abram Bergson to estimate the growth rates of the Soviet Union and subsequently applied to centrally planned economies in Eastern Europe, Jorge Perez-López has estimated the growth rate of the Cuban economy in real terms for the 1965–1982 period. His estimated indexes suggest that the Cuban economy expanded at a considerably slower pace than would be implied by official data.By constructing yardsticks of economic performance for revolutionary Cuba that are compatible with those used by Western nations, Perez-López provides for the first time a basis for analyzing the real growth of the Cuban economy during the revolutionary period.
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