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Thwarted Comparative Advantage, Economic Policy and Industrialization in the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago *

  • Francisco E. Thoumi (a1)


Economic growth and government policies in small Caribbean countries have been conditioned (1) by the very large fluctuations in their external sector which continuously change the relative profitability of the various productive sectors of their economies, greatly complicating the macroeconomics management of their economies; (2) by the attempts of their governments to cope with those fluctuations; and (3) by the political economy relations that prevail in those countries, and that determine the nature of government intervention and the role of the private sector.



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This essay is a byproduct of the author's work on the industrial sector in the Dominican Republic (in 1974,1983 and 1987) and in Trinidad and Tobago (in 1987). However, the ideas expressed are his own and do not represent policies or points of view of the Inter-American Development Bank. The author wishes to thank Gonzalo Giraldo, Markos Mamalakis, and Hugh Schwartz for their valuable comments to a previous draft, and Maritza Bojorge for her patient and accurate typing.



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Auty, R. and Gelb, A. (1986) “Oil Windfalls in a Small Parliamentary Democracy: Their Impact on Trinidad and Tobago.” World Development 14, 9: 11611175.
Bilkey, W. (1971) “Public Enterprise Models and A Caribbean Experience.” Inter-American Economic Affairs Xxv, 3: 3955.
Group of Latin-American and Caribbean Sugar Exporting Countries (GEPLACEA) (1986) Handbook on International Sugar Marketing (2nd ed.). Mexico City, Mexico: GEPLACEA.
Morales, J. (1986) Tasas de Protección Efectiva para la Industria Manufacturera Dominicana (May). Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Secretaría de Estado de Finanzas de la República Dominicana.
Pollard, H. (1985) “The Erosion of Agriculture in an Oil Economy: The Case of Export Crop Production in Trinidad.” World Development 13, 7: 819-835.
Sandoval, J.M. (1983) “State Capitalism in a Petroleum-Based Economy: The Case of Trinidad and Tobago,” pp. 247271 in F. Am bursey and R. Cohen (eds.) Crisis in the Caribbean. New York, NY: Monthly Review Press.
Thoumi, F. (forthcoming, 1989) “Some Privatization Issues in the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago” in W. Glade (ed.) Privatization of Public Enterprises in Latin America: A Comparative Survey of Strategies and Outcomes. San Diego, CA: University of California, Center for US-Mexican Studies.
Thoumi, F. (1988) “Economic Policy, Free Zones and Export Assembly Manufacturing in the Dominican Republic.” Paper presented at the meeting of the Allied Social Sciences Associations, New York (NY), December.
Wiarda, H. and Kryzanek, M. (1982) The Dominican Republic: A Caribbean Crucible. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.


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