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Emigration and Regime Stability: Explaining the Persistence of Cuban Socialism


  • Bert Hoffmann

    (Deutsches Übersee-Institut)


The ‘Cuban safety-valve theory’ explains sustained survival of Cuban socialism in part through the high levels of emigration, following Hirschman’s model of ‘exit’ undermining ‘voice’. The article argues that this remains insufficient in two important ways. Taking a closer look at the crisis years since 1989, at least as important as the opening of exit options was the Cuban state’s capacity to rein in uncontrolled emigration and to reassure its ‘gatekeeper role’. In addition, the transnationalization of voice and exit must be taken into account as a crucial factor, as much in feeding the regime’s anti-imperialist discourse as, paradoxically, by generating sustained economic support from the emigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Bert Hoffmann, 2005. "Emigration and Regime Stability: Explaining the Persistence of Cuban Socialism," Public Economics 0508005, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0508005
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 33

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bert Hoffmann, 2001. "Transformation and continuity in Cuba," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 33(1), pages 1-20, March.
    2. Poirine, Bernard, 1997. "A theory of remittances as an implicit family loan arrangement," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 589-611, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hoffmann, Bert, 2011. "The International Dimensions of Authoritarian Legitimation: The Impact of Regime Evolution," GIGA Working Papers 182, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    2. Hansing, Katrin & Hoffmann, Bert, 2019. "Cuba's new social structure: Assessing the re-stratification of Cuban society 60 years after revolution," GIGA Working Papers 315, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.

    More about this item


    Emigration; Regime Stability; Transnational Networks; Cuba; USA;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


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