Cooperation on economic reforms
and sustainable development

Working papers

Working Paper No. 10. Can Cuban state companies pay higher wages?

Ricardo González Aguila y Leandro Zipitría - 04-06-2020

Cuban state companies pay considerably lower wages than other Latin American companies. In 2018 the average salary was 777 Cuban pesos (CUP) per month, about $30 on the CADECA2 exchange rate (ONEI, 2018). Domestic literature generally accepts that wages in Cuba are low because business productivity is also low, and that any attempt to increase them without productive support would unleash an inflationary spiral. At the same time, it is claimed that this relationship is bidirectional and that low wages make it difficult to stimulate labour productivity (Vidal, 2008; Galtés, 2016; Moreal, 2018).







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Working Paper No. 9. Public–private partnerships in Cuba, challenges and opportunities

Dr. C. Juan Triana Cordoví - 20-05-2020

Public–private partnerships (PPPs) may be defined in general terms as agreements between public and private actors for the supply of goods, services and/or infrastructure. They may also act as an “assembly tool” that is able to unite the interests of different sectors around a single goal and produce joint action that activates the country’s full capacity in order to achieve economic transformation.

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Working Paper No. 8. The external integration and growth of the Cuban economy

Dr. Lázaro Peña Castellanos y Dra. Carola Salas Couce - 14-05-2020

In conditions governed by a global accumulation model, external integration and growth are two interrelated aspects of development. This work aims to quantitatively reveal and describe these relationships in the Cuban economy and to make recommendations for designing economic strategies and policies for Cuba, where overlapping structural and contextual factors hinder external integration and economic growth.

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Working Paper No. 7. Cuban agricultural exports: Potential for integration into global value chains towards America. Background and current situation

Anicia García Álvarez, Betsy Anaya Cruz - 10-03-2020

Cuba’s need for its export sector to take off is a perennially valid and extremely important area of discussion, given Cuba’s critical dependence on its external sector.

For a fairly prolonged period of the country's history, agricultural exports were fundamental due to their external importance: sugar and related products were the country’s main exportable product until the beginning of the 21st century, accounting for almost 81% of Cuban exports of goods in 1958 and close to 32% in 2002. That year marked the beginning of the restructuring and resizing of the Cuban sugar sector and was the last time sugar – and agricultural exports in general – dominated the export picture in Cuba. Subsequently, agro‑exports plummeted until they reached a relatively stable level from 2007 to 2014, hovering at around 16% of goods exported. Since 2015, the relative share of these exports has grown, as exports from mining and other products have fallen. As a decisive sector in Cuba's integration into the global market, far from having exhausted its possibilities, there may be opportunities for agriculture in the current international context.

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Working Paper No. 6. Comparative analysis of energy indicator changes in Cuba and Spain from 1990 to 2016

Emilio Cerdá, Diego Rodríguez, Miguel Sebastián - 05-02-2020

This work aims to provide a comparative analysis of the changes in certain basic energy indicators in Cuba and Spain for the 1990 to 2016 period. A period of profound changes in energy generation technologies around the world, it was characterised by two important events: an explosion of renewable electricity generation technologies (wind and solar); and significant falls in the generation costs associated with renewable technologies (investment, operation and maintenance). Almost non-existent in 1990, by 2016 renewables were already clear competitors to other generation technologies. In this process, all countries initially opted to provide significant regulatory support for these technologies (in the form of grants). This support was withdrawn across the board once the transition through the learning curve made them competitive.

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Working Paper No. 5. The Cuban economy’s transformation and the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union

Jordi Bacaria, UAB, CIDOB. Eloi Serrano UPF, CIDOB - 30-01-2020

As the objectives of the PDCA establish, the EU's proposal for cooperation with Cuba involves accompanying the process of updating the Cuban economy and society by providing a global framework for dialogue and cooperation. This cooperation framework concentrates on the multilateral aspects of Cuba’s trade and international projection, with particular emphasis on modernising its economy. The PDCA refers to “updating” and modernisation is used only to refer for example to public administration, transport and customs. However, the council’s joint proposal (2016) says that the “relationship will be geared to supporting the modernisation of the Cuban economy and society".

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Working Paper No. 4. The competitiveness of Cuban tourism: anything more than sun, beaches and son music?

Mario Raúl de la Peña, David Martín-Barroso, Jacobo Núñez et. al. - 21-01-2020

While Cuba is a traditional tourist destination in the Caribbean region, the current configuration of Cuban tourism, as well as its economic importance, began with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of subsidised goods exchanges with the USSR. The tightening of the United States’ economic embargo following the Cuban Democracy Act was a further factor in the Cuban economy’s collapse in the early 1990s. It is in this context that the international tourism sector has since 1989 been seen as one of the few productive alternatives capable of mitigating the fall in income caused by that collapse and, in particular, that of the sugar sector, one of its main engines up to that time (Fitzgerald, 1994; Pérez-López, 1994; Simon, 1995; Martín de Holan and Phillips, 1997; Mundet and Salinas, 2000).

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Working Paper No. 3. Revisiting the agrarian question in Cuba (1959–2018): A peasant alternative in the global era?

Elisa Botella-Rodríguez, Profesora del Departamento de Economía e Historia Económica - 17-12-2019

The issue of land has not always been widely debated in Latin American academic, social and political circles. But it has long been essential for understanding many of the socio-economic and political transformations of the 20th and 21st centuries. The 20th century was the century of agrarian reforms in Latin America, many of which had important antecedents in the peasants’ struggles of the first half of the 20th century (Martín Cano et al., 2007). Since the end of the 20th century, the rebirth and transnationalisation of social movements and the rise of left-wing governments in Latin America brought agrarian issues and access to land back into the (political and social) conversation. Agrarian reforms were brought back to the political agenda in major Latin American countries from the bottom up but later received top-down support from the so-called Pink Tide governments. Thus, far from being an anachronism, the movements of landless workers and peasants in Latin America have emerged as “modern and dynamic” social actors that in many settings play key roles in opposing the prevailing development agenda (Petras and Veltmeyer, 2001).

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Working Paper No. 2. New implications of ICT: The growth of the collaborative economy

Cipriano Quirós Romero, - 10-12-2019

This working document (WD) expands on the paper of the same name presented at the Europe-Cuba Forum seminar held in the University of Havana in February 2019 as part of the first themed unit "Cooperation for economic reforms and sustainable development". Given the novelty of the Collaborative Economy (CE) and the plurality of visions arising from it in recent years, this WD focuses on presenting how to define and delimit these activities.

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Working Paper No.1. Economic reform in Cuba: Stuck in the middle

José Antonio Alonso, Pavel Vidal - 28-11-2019

Over the last decade, the Cuban economy has embarked on a diverse series of reforms and repeatedly imposed stabilisation measures that have varied in field and scope. Many were necessary responses to critical situations caused by macroeconomic imbalances; others sought to relaunch the Cuban economy and set it on a path of sustained growth for the future. Both objectives – achieving stability and promoting growth – have inspired many of the authorities' reforms in an institutional and political framework that is remarkably intransigent and resistant to change. The achievements made in this process remain for the time being highly precarious.

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