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

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 March 2012

MARIANNE WARD*
Affiliation:
Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, MD 21210. E-mail: mward3@loyola.edu.
JOHN DEVEREUX*
Affiliation:
Professor, Department of Economics, Queens College, CUNY, Flushing, NY 11367. E-mail: john.devereux@qc.cuny.edu.

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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ARTICLES
Copyright
Copyright © The Economic History Association 2012

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