La Economía Política del Embargo o Bloqueo Interno de Cuba by Jorge A. Sanguinetty

This paper is an analysis of the political economy of the U.S. embargo to the Cuban economy, and it was presented, in Spanish, in the XXV annual conference of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy in Miami, July 30, 2015. The English translation will be ready in a few weeks and will also be posted on this blog. The Spanish version will be published during the first half of 2016 as part of the ASCE Cuba in Transition, Volume XXV. To read it click on this link: LA ECONOMÍA POLÍTICA DEL EMBARGO O BLOQUEO INTERNO DE CUBA.

What I Saw at the 2015 Economics Meetings. By James W. Fox

Atmospherics

The meeting was apparently as big as any, with more than 12,000 registered participants. Plenty of Asians, though they seemed less evident than in several previous years. Plenty of women, everywhere except at the head tables of the two plenary sessions I attended. For the Nobel luncheon, it was one women among 17 men. At the AFA/AEA session, women were two of 19 people.

Weather was terrible, as one might expect in Boston that time of year, with sub-freezing temperatures, a stiff wind, and snow on the second day. San Francisco next year. Hurrah. (more…)

Migration Policy and the Cuban Embargo: Cognitive Dissonance Reigns Supreme. By Roger R. Betancourt

Embargos are restrictions on the flows of persons, goods and services and capital across countries, e.g., see Betancourt (ASCE Papers and Proceedings, 2014) for a detailed discussion of the topic as well as of the specifics of Cuba’ example.

In this posting I will identify major logical inconsistencies in the position of both supporters and opponents of the Cuban embargo on both sides of Florida’s Keys. These inconsistencies result from ignoring that restrictions on the flows of persons were as much a part of the original Cuban embargo as those on the flows of goods and services and flows of capital.

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What I Saw at the 2014 American Economic Association (AEA) meeting. by James W. Fox

Atmospherics

Meeting registration was apparently a record, with more than 12,000 registered. Not everybody who was registered actually attended, as people from places like Chicago and Minneapolis were snowed in at home. As last year, there was little on development at the meetings. There continued to be a lot on financial crises, risk and uncertainty, and why things aren’t as simple as we thought, but with the addition of sessions on inequality and labor markets.

Philadelphia was cold and icy. I look with dread at the fact that three more of the next five meetings will be in inhospitable environments – Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia (again)-. San Francisco and Atlanta are the only respite until six years from now. Where is San Diego in all this? (more…)

Main Implications: What have we learnt about democracy? By Roger R. Betancourt

One implication seems to have unusual importance because it has gone unnoticed: whether one favors the electoral democracy view or the liberal democracy view is irrelevant for policy purposes. If one favors the latter view , one would want to promote democracy by promoting civil liberties as well as political rights but even if one favors the former view one would want to promote civil liberties as the statistical evidence suggest that progress on civil liberties is required before there can be progress on political rights! Furthermore, even if one is skeptical of statistical evidence, the historical evidence also supports this view. For instance, in 43 of 48 contiguous US states women acquired the property rights to control and own their earnings as well as to control their separate estates prior to acquiring the right to vote.

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Evolution of Democracy in Selected Developing Countries by Roger R. Betancourt

In this posting we look at the scores of four developing countries in three years since the disaggregated components of political rights and civil liberties were made available by Freedom House. The countries selected were Brazil, Chile, Cuba and China. The years selected were the same: 2006, 2009 and 2012.

Country/[Years] A. B. C. D. E. F. G.

Brazil [11,11,11] [14,14,14] [07,07,08] [15,15,15] [10,10,10] [08,08,10] [12,12,12]

Chile [12,12,12] [15,15,15] [12,12,12] [16,16,16] [12,12,12] [15,15,15] [14,15,15]

Cuba [00,00,00] [00,00,00] [01,01,01] [02,02,03] [02,01,01] [01,02,02] [02,03,04]

China [00,00,00] [01,01,01] [01,01,02] [04,03,03] [02,02,03] [02,02,02] [07,07,06]

Note that in terms of per capita income, measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) for 2012, Chile has the highest income per person. It is between $18.2K and $22.4K as measured by three sources (the World Bank, The IMF and the CIA). Again purchasing power parity is supposed to account for price differences across countries obscured by using exchange rates, which reflect only prices of goods and services transacted internationally. China is last with income per person between $ 9.1K and $9.3K measured in the same units. Brazil is in the middle of these two countries with income per person between $11.7 and $12.1K measured in the same units. Not surprisingly Cuba is a special case in terms of GDP data as only one of the three sources provides an estimate (the CIA), which is $10.2K.

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Evolution of Democracy in Selected Advanced Countries by Roger R. Betancourt

Evolution of Democracy in Selected Advanced Countries.

In this posting we look at the scores of four advanced countries in three years since the disaggregated components of political rights and civil liberties were made available by Freedom House. The countries selected were USA, Sweden, Spain and Singapore. The years selected were 2006, 2009 and 2012.

Country/[Years] A. B. C. D. E. F. G.

USA [10,11,11] [16,16,16] [11,11,11] [16,16,16] [11,11,10] [14,14,14] [15,15,15]

Sweden [12,12,12] [16,16,16] [12,12,12] [16,16,16] [12,12,12] [16,16,16] [16,16,16]

Spain [12,12,12] [14,16,16] [12,12,12] [16,16,16] [12,12,12] [14,14,14] [15,15,15]

Singapore [04,04,04] [06,06,08] [07,07,07] [09,09,10] [04,03,04] [08,07,07] [12,12,12]

Note that in terms of per capita income, measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) for 2012, Singapore is the highest with income per person between $60.8K and 61.8K as measured by three sources (the World Bank, The IMF and the CIA). Purchasing power parity is supposed to account for price differences across countries obscured by using exchange rates, which reflect only prices of goods and services transacted internationally. Spain is last with income per person between $ 30.1K and $32.7K measured in the same units. The USA and Sweden are in the middle of these two countries with the USA between $50K and $51.7K and Sweden between $40.3K and $43.1K measured in the same units.

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