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The Road Not Taken: Pre-Revolutionary Cuban Living Standards in Comparative Perspective

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  • WARD, MARIANNE
  • DEVEREUX, JOHN

Abstract

We examine Cuban GDP over time and across space. We find that Cuba was once a prosperous middle-income economy. On the eve of the revolution, incomes were 50 to 60 percent of European levels. They were among the highest in Latin America at about 30 percent of the United States. In relative terms, Cuba was richer earlier on. Income per capita during the 1920s was in striking distance of Western Europe and the Southern United States. After the revolution, Cuba slipped down the world income distribution. Current levels of income per capita appear below their pre-revolutionary peaks.

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  • Ward, Marianne & Devereux, John, 2012. "The Road Not Taken: Pre-Revolutionary Cuban Living Standards in Comparative Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(01), pages 104-132, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:72:y:2012:i:01:p:104-132_00
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    1. Benjamin Bridgman & Michael Maio & James A. Schmitz, 2012. "What ever happened to the Puerto Rican sugar manufacturing industry?," Staff Report 477, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

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