Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 8:05 pm

Cuba’s Economy

Cuba’s low per-capita income growth — 1.2 percent per year since 1960 —has more to do with Cuba’s own economic policies than with the U.S. embargo on trade and tourism.

Responses
 

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Responses weighted by each expert's confidence

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel
Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Agree 7
Cuba is stuck in the 1950s primarily due to its internal policies not external constraints.
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Harvard No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Strongly Agree 2
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Agree 4
Of course, lost tourism opportnties, etc. might also be important. Parsing it out an empirical question.
Bio/Vote History
         
Currie Janet Currie Princeton Agree 7
Sanctions are not perfectly binding, and other countries subject to U.S.sanctions have continued to grow.
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Strongly Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Agree 3
Seems likely, but I know nothing concrete about the Cuban economy.
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Agree 2
The embargo is also likely to have been an important factor, and may be partly responsible for sustaining Cuba's internal economic policies.
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Agree 4
Trade certainly matters for growth. Many countries though would trade with Cuba, so probably its own policies were more important.
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale Agree 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Uncertain 1
Cuba's economic policies were flawed, but cutting off a small country from the rest of the world has detrimental effects on its growth.
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldin Claudia Goldin Harvard Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Strongly Agree 10
communist dictatorship not exactly a growth strategy. I bet that stated growth rate even overstates reality
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Agree 4
That is, with free-market policies and honest competent government, a Caribbean country could prosper without US trade or tourists.
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Strongly Agree 9
If Cuba allocated labor & capital to the most productive uses, growth would be higher. The US is too small as % of world trade to prevent it
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Strongly Agree 7
Gravity model suggests adverse effects from the embargo, but destroying the price system and using command and control instead hurts more.
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Strongly Agree 8
The embargo was mitigated by Cuban trade with other countries (trade diversion).
-see background information here
Bio/Vote History
         
Lazear Edward Lazear Stanford Agree 8
See Jamaica v. Barbados and other Caribb. nations that are not embargoed. Their growth depends on local policy. Other evidence as well.
Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Uncertain 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Obstfeld Maurice Obstfeld Berkeley Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Strongly Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Shin Hyun Song Shin Princeton Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Stock James Stock Harvard Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Stokey Nancy Stokey Chicago Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago Agree 3
Seems right but I cannot think of any good reason to maintain this boycot. Hurts US biz interests and Cuban people.
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Zingales Luigi Zingales Chicago Strongly Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         

10 New Economic Experts join the IGM Panel


For the past two years, our expert panelists have been informing the public about the extent to which economists agree or disagree on important public policy issues. This week, we are delighted to announce that we are expanding the IGM Economic Experts Panel to add ten new distinguished economists. Like our other experts, these new panelists have impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters, and their names will be familiar to other economists and the media.

To give the public a broad sense of their views on policy issues, each new expert has responded to a selection of 16 statements that our panel had previously addressed. We chose these 16 statements, which cover a wide range of important policy areas, because the original panelists' responses to them were analyzed in a paper comparing the views of our economic experts with those of the American public. You can find that paper, by Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales, here. The paper, along with other analyses of the experts' views, was discussed during the American Economic Association annual meetings, and the video can be found here.

The new panelists' responses to these statements can be seen on their individual voting history pages. Our ten new economic experts are:

Abhijit Banerjee (MIT)
Markus K. Brunnermeier (Princeton)
Liran Einav (Stanford)
Amy Finkelstein (MIT)
Oliver Hart (Harvard)
Hilary Hoynes (Berkeley)
Steven N. Kaplan (Chicago)
Larry Samuelson (Yale)
Carl Shapiro (Berkeley)
Robert Shimer (Chicago)


Please note that, for the 16 previous topics on which these new panelists have voted, we left the charts showing the distribution of responses unchanged. Those charts reflect the responses that our original panelists gave at the time, and we have not altered them to reflect the views of the new experts.

We have also taken this opportunity to ask our original panelists whether they would vote differently on any of the statements we have asked about in the past. Several experts chose to highlight statements to which they would currently respond differently. In such cases, you will see this "revote" below the panelist's original vote. We think you will enjoy seeing examples of statements on which some experts have reconsidered.

As with the 16 previous statements voted on by new panelists, these "revote" responses are not reflected in the chart that we display showing the distribution of views for that topic: all the charts for previous questions reflect the distribution of views that the experts expressed when the statement was originally posed.

About the IGM Economic Experts Panel

This panel explores the extent to which economists agree or disagree on major public policy issues. To assess such beliefs we assembled this panel of expert economists. Statistics teaches that a sample of (say) 40 opinions will be adequate to reflect a broader population if the sample is representative of that population.

To that end, our panel was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the major areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include Democrats, Republicans and Independents as well as older and younger scholars. The panel members are all senior faculty at the most elite research universities in the United States. The panel includes Nobel Laureates, John Bates Clark Medalists, fellows of the Econometric society, past Presidents of both the American Economics Association and American Finance Association, past Democratic and Republican members of the President's Council of Economics, and past and current editors of the leading journals in the profession. This selection process has the advantage of not only providing a set of panelists whose names will be familiar to other economists and the media, but also delivers a group with impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters.

Finally, it is important to explain one aspect of our voting process. In some instances a panelist may neither agree nor disagree with a statement, and there can be two very different reasons for this. One case occurs when an economist is an expert on a topic and yet sees the evidence on the exact claim at hand as ambiguous. In such cases our panelists vote "uncertain". A second case relates to statements on topics so far removed from the economist's expertise that he or she feels unqualified to vote. In this case, our panelists vote "no opinion".

The Economic Experts Panel questions are emailed individually to the members of the panel, and each responds electronically at his or her convenience. Panelists may consult whatever resources they like before answering.

Members of the public are free to suggest questions (see link below), and the panelists suggest many themselves. Members of the IGM faculty are responsible for deciding the final version of each week’s question. We usually send a draft of the question to the panel in advance, and invite them to point out problems with the wording if they see any. In response, we typically receive a handful of suggested clarifications from individual experts. This process helps us to spot inconsistencies, and to reduce vagueness or problems of interpretation.

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