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Why Has the Grass Been Greener on One Side of Hispaniola? A Comparative Growth Analysis of the Dominican Republic and Haiti


  • Laura Jaramillo
  • Cemile Sancak


The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the island of Hispaniola and are broadly similar in terms of geography and historical institutions, yet their growth performance has diverged remarkably. The countries had the same per capita real GDP in 1960, but, by 2005, the Dominican Republic's per capita real GDP had tripled, whereas that of Haiti had halved. Drawing on the growth literature, this paper explains this divergence through a combined approach that includes a panel regression to study growth determinants across a broad group of countries, and a case study framework to better understand the specific policy decisions and external conditions that have shaped economic outcomes in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. This paper finds that initial conditions cannot fully explain the growth divergence, but rather policy decisions have played a central role in the growth trends of the two countries. IMF Staff Papers (2009) 56, 323–349. doi:10.1057/imfsp.2008.40; published online 3 March 2009

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Jaramillo & Cemile Sancak, 2009. "Why Has the Grass Been Greener on One Side of Hispaniola? A Comparative Growth Analysis of the Dominican Republic and Haiti," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 56(2), pages 323-349, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:imfstp:v:56:y:2009:i:2:p:323-349

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bal Gündüz, Yasemin, 2016. "The Economic Impact of Short-term IMF Engagement in Low-Income Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 30-49.
    2. Sanchez-Fung, Jose R. & Faria, Joao Ricardo, 2009. "The economy and the environment in the Dominican Republic and Haiti: what explains the differences?," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-3, School of Economics, Kingston University London.
    3. Yasemin Bal Gunduz, 2009. "Estimating Demand for IMF Financing by Low-Income Countries in Response to Shocks," IMF Working Papers 09/263, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Yasemin Bal Gunduz & Masyita Crystallin, 2014. "Do IMF-Supported Programs Catalyze Donor Assistance to Low-Income Countries?," IMF Working Papers 14/202, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Christian Mumssen & Yasemin Bal Gunduz & Christian H Ebeke & Linda Kaltani, 2013. "IMF-Supported Programs in Low Income Countries; Economic Impact over the Short and Longer Term," IMF Working Papers 13/273, International Monetary Fund.

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