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The Feasibility of Cuban Market Economy: A Comparison with Vietnam

Discussion Papers


March, 2009


In spite of the difficulties incurred by its people, Cuba has maintained a centrally planned economy with single party system. On the contrary, Vietnam has introduced a market economy under communist rule, and succeeded in generally improving living standards. The factors that contributed to the introduction of Vietnamese-style reforms are (1) severe economic crisis, (2) demonstration effects from neighboring countries, (3) poor social policy, (4) initiatives by ex-conservative leader/s, and (5) weak state capacity. The conditions to sustain high economic growth are (1) social sectors familiar with capitalist economics, (2) abundant labor forces with relatively low labor cost, and (3) investment by exiles. This paper analyzes to what extent Cuba meets these conditions.

Keywords: economic reform, socialism, economic crisis, state capacity, governance, social policy, development strategy
FEL classification: P21, P30

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