Author Archives: González-Corzo Mario A.

ASCE (ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF THE CUBAN ECONOMY), A Selection of Papers from the 2018 Annual Conference

The complete set of papers is here:  ASCE Conference Proceedings for 2018.

A complete set of all the papers from the annual ASCE conferences can be found here:  ASCE Conference Proceedings

Cuba: Los Retos Económicos del Gobierno de Miguel Díaz-Canel Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva PDF version
Cuba 2018: Entre la Continuidad y la Oportunidad Dagoberto Valdés Hernández PDF version
Cuban Peso Unification: Managed Rate and Monetary Analysis Luis R. Luis PDF version
La Agricultura en Cuba: Transformaciones, Resultados y Retos Armando Nova González PDF version
Principal Elements of Agricultural Reforms in Transition Economies: Implications For Cuba? Mario A. González-Corzo PDF version
Cuba’s Economic Liberalization and The Perils to Security and Legality Vidal Romero PDF version
Growth and Policy-Induced Distortions in The Cuban Economy: an Econometric Approach Ernesto Hernández-Catá PDF version
Comparing The Quality of Education in Pre- and Post-Revolutionary Cuba Using U.S. Labor Market Outcomes Luis Locay and John Devereux PDF version
The Global Economy and Cuba: Stasis and Hard Choices Larry Catá Backer PDF version
Five Keys to Presidential Change in Cuba Arturo López-Levy and Rolf Otto Niederstrasser PDF version
Cuba’s Political and Economic Arteriosclerosis – It Is Not Just The Castros Gary H. Maybarduk PDF version
Cuban Tourism Industry in The Eye of The Storm Emilio Morales PDF version
Experiencias de Cuentapropistas Ted A. Henken PDF version
Cuban Demography and Economic Consequences Humberto Barreto PDF version
“The Revenge of The Jealous Bureaucrat”: A Critical Analysis of Cuba’s New Rules For Cuentapropistas Ted A. Henken PDF version


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Mario A. Gonzalez-Corzo and Orlando Justo, The City University of New York

The Journal of Private Enterprise 32(2), 2017, 45–82

Complete Article Here: 2017_Private Self-Employment under reform Socialism in Cuba Journal_of_Private_Enterprise, 32, 2.



The expansion of private self-employment is one of the main economic measures implemented by the Cuban government since 2010 to update its socialist economy under a unique brand of “reform socialism.” State policies (a “push factor”), as well as economic incentives and the desire for greater economic independence (“pull factors”) have contributed to the remarkable growth of self-employment in Cuba since 2010. While employment in the state sector has declined significantly (13 percent) since 2010, self-employment has grown by more than 187 percent, and its share of total employment has increased from 3 percent to close to 9 percent. Despite these advances, Cuba’s self-employed workers face significant obstacles that limit their growth and potential economic contributions. In addition to addressing these challenges and obstacles, ensuring the success of Cuba’s self-employment reforms requires re-conceptualizing the state’s attitude toward self-employed workers and their potential contributions to economic development and growth.

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ASCE: Cuba in Transition: Volume 25

Papers and Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting,  July 30-August 1, 2015

All papers are hyperlinked to the ASCE Website and can be seen in PDF format.


Conference Program

Table of Contents

Reflections on the State of the Cuban Economy Carlos Seiglie

¿Es la Economía o es la Política?: La Ilusoria Inversión de K. Marx Alexis Jardines

Los Grandes Retos del Deshielo Emilio Morales

Preparing for a Full Restoration of Economic Relations between Cuba and the United States Ernesto Hernández-Catá

Economic Consequences of Cuba-U.S. Reconciliation Luis R. Luis

El Sector Privado y el Turismo en Cuba Ante un Escenario de Relaciones con Estados Unidos José Luis Perelló Cabrera

The Logical Fallacy of the New U.S.-Cuba Policy and its Security Implications José Azel

Why Cuba is a State Sponsor of Terror Joseph M. Humire

The National Security Implications of the President’s New Cuba Policy Ana Quintana

Factores Atípicos de las Relaciones Internacionales Económicas de Cuba: El Rol de los Servicios Cubanos de Inteligencia Enrique García

Entrepreneurship in Post-Socialist Economies: Lessons for Cuba Mario A. González-Corzo

When Reforms Are Not: Recent Policy Development in Cuba and the Implications for the Future Enrique S. Pumar

Revisiting the Seven Threads in the Labyrinth of the Cuban Revolution Luis Martínez-Fernández

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

Establishing Ground Rules for Political Risk Claims about Cuba José Gabilondo

Resolving U.S. Expropriation Claims Against Cuba: A Very Modest Proposal Matías F. Travieso-Díaz

U.S.-Cuba BIT: A Guarantee in Reestablishing Trade Relations Rolando Anillo, Esq.

Lessons from Cuba’s Party-Military Relations and a Tale of “Two Fronts Line” in North Korea Jung-chul Lee

The Military, Ideological Frameworks and Familial Marxism: A Comment on Jung-chul Lee,“A Lesson from Cuba’s Party-Military Relations and a Tale of ‘Two Fronts Line’ in North Korea” Larry Catá Backer

Hybrid Economy in Cuba and North Korea: Key to the Longevity of Two Regimes and Difference Young-Ja Park

Historical Progress Of U.S.-Cuba Relationship: Implication for U.S.-North Korea Case Wootae Lee

Estimating Disguised Unemployment in Cuba Ernesto Hernández-Catá

Reliable Partners, Not Carpetbaggers Domingo Amuchástegui

Foreign Investment in Cuba’s “Updating” of Its Economic Model Jorge F. Pérez-López

Global Corporate Social Responsibility (GCSR) Standards With Cuban Characteristics: What Normalization Means for Transnational Enterprise Activity in Cuba Larry Catá Backer

Bienal de la Habana, 1984: Art Curators as State Researchers Paloma Checa-Gismero

Luchas y Éxitos de las Diásporas Cubana Lisa Clarke

A Framework for Assessing the Impact of U.S. Restrictions on Telecommunication Exports to Cuba Larry Press

Measures to Deal with an Aging Population: International Experiences and Lessons for Cuba Sergio Díaz-Briquets

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Mario González-Corzo, Editor, con la asistencia de Rosalina López

Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York

 This volume presents an analysis of the evolution and recent transformation of the sugar cane industry in Cuba from the fallout of sugar production during the Special Period to the creation of AZCUBA in 2011 to face new challenges; it also covers the potential use of sugar as energy and the behavior of the commodity within the global market economy.

 Complete document here:  La agroindustria cañera cubana



Introducción, Mario González-Corzo

1 Importancia económica y estratég ica de la agroindustria cubana, Armando Nova González

2 La agroindustria bioenergética de la caña azúcar: retos y pers-pectivas, Federico Sulroca Domínguez

3 Las agroindustria cañera cubana: desempeño y tendencias recientes, Mario González-Corzo

4   AZCUBA: un modelo de la agroindustria cubana, Federico Sulroca Domínguez

5 La inserción de la agroindustria en la economía internacional, Lázaro Peña Castellanos


Sobre los autores


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Journal of Agricultural Studies ISSN 2166-0379 2015, Vol. 3, No. 2

Armando Nova González, Centro de Investigaciones de la Economía Internacional (CIEI), Universidad de La Habana, and Mario A. González Corzo, Lehman College, City University of New York (CUNY)

Complete Essay Here:  Mario Gonzalez-Corzo and Armando Nova, Cuba’s Agricultural Transformations, 2015


  The Cuban government has implemented a series of agricultural transformations since 2007 to increase the country’s agricultural self-sufficiency and reduce its dependency on food imports. These include the transfer (in usufruct) of State-owned land to non-State producers (e.g. cooperatives and private farmers), moderate price reforms, the decentralization of decision making, and the gradual relaxation of existing forms of agricultural commercialization.

As a result of these measures, the area planted, as well as physical output and agricultural yields (in selected non-sugar crop categories) have shown mixed results, but still remain below desired levels.

There are three (3) fundamental unresolved aspects that have prevented Cuba’s agricultural sector from achieving the desired outcomes: (1) the need to achieve the “realization of property,” (2) the recognition and acceptance of the market as a complementary economic coordination mechanism, and (3) the absence of a systemic focus to achieve the successful completion of the agricultural production cycle.

These unresolved aspects should be addressed through:

(1) the consolidation of input markets, where producers can obtain essential inputs at prices that correspond to the prices they can obtain for their output,

(2) greater autonomy to allow agricultural producers to freely decide when, where, and to whom they could sell their output, after social contracts have been fulfilled,

(3) the diversification of the forms of agricultural commercialization to permit greater participation by non-State economic actors,

(4) allowing agricultural producers to freely hire the labor necessary to sustain and increase production, and (5) providing agricultural producers with the financing and technical assistance necessary.

z3 Mario A. González Corzo and Armando Nova González,

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Mauricio A. Font y Mario González-Corzo, Editores, Con la asistencia de Rosalina López

New York: Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, 2015

Documento Completo: Reformando el Modelo Economico Cubano

 New Picture (12)


Introducción, Mario González-Corzo

Del ajuste externo a una nueva concepción del socialism Cubano, Juan Triana Cordoví

La estructura de las exportaciones de bienes en Cuba 29, Ricardo Torres

Relanzamiento del cuentapropismo en medio del ajuste structural, Pavel Vidal Alejandro y Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva

Las cooperativas en Cuba, Camila Piñeiro Harnecker

La apertura a las microfinanzas en Cuba, Pavel Vidal Alejandro

Hacia una nueva fiscalidad en Cuba, Saira Pons


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Recent US-Cuba Policy Changes: Potential Impact on Self-Employment

Mario A. González-Corzo*   Cuba Transition Project, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami, Issue 239,  March 11, 2015

Washington’s “new course on Cuba” presents a new set of challenges, opportunities and new prospects for the Island’s emerging self-employed workers. There are several reasons for this:

1. Despite existing constraints and limitations, policy contradictions, and the predominance of bureaucratic economic coordination mechanisms and centralized planning, the expansion of self-employment is one of the principal elements of Cuba’s efforts to “update” its economic model.

2.The implementation of a series of reform policy changes in Cuba since 2007, and particularly after 2010, have contributed to the rapid expansion of self-employment and its growing share of total employment (Figure 1). 

Source: Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas e Información [ONEI], 2014; author’s calculations.

  •  While limited openings to allow the expansion of self-employment are not a new phenomenon in the Cuban economy, the number of legally-registered self-employed workers has grown significantly since 2007.
  • Self-employment has grown at an even faster rate since 2010, when the Cuban government announced its plan to reduce its bloated State payrolls by 20% and after 2011 when the number of authorized self-employment categories was increased to 201.
  • The number of self-employed workers grew 206.6% from 138,400 in 2007 to 424,300 in 2013. By contrast, employment in the State sector fell 10.1% between 2007 and 2013, and employment in cooperatives declined 6.2% during the same period.
  • While the State sector accounted for 82.9% of total employment in 2007, this figure fell to 73.7% in 2013. Self-employed workers represented 2.8% of total employment in 2007, but their share of total employment grew to 8.6% in 2013.
  • Most self-employed workers in Cuba, however, are presently employed in relatively low-skilled (service-oriented) activities. They also face a wide range of legal prohibitions that limit their ability to grow and achieve economies of scale and their potential contributions to the country’s development and economic growth.

3. Despite facing strict State-imposed controls and limitations, self-employment has contributed to job creation, the provision of goods and services that were insufficiently produced by the State, and increases in the State’s tax revenues; it has also contributed to changes in attitudes, perceptions, and relationships between a growing segment of the Cuban population and the State, leaving a lasting “footprint” on the Cuban economy.

4. Since the limited liberalization of self-employment and the legalization of the U.S. dollar in 1993, self-employed workers have been among the principal recipients of remittances from abroad, particularly from the Cuban community in the United States, directly serving as one of the principal mechanisms to strengthen transnational ties between both countries.

While self-employment expanded significantly (206.6%), and its share of total employment increased notably during the 2007-2013 period, it has grown at a much slower rate, following the initial spurt experienced in 2011. This can be primarily attributed to existing restrictions on the types of self-employment activities that are currently authorized, excessive State regulation and intervention, the inexistence of input markets where self-employed workers and micro-entrepreneurs can obtain essential inputs at competitive prices in Cuban pesos (CUP), onerous taxation, and the remaining ambivalence of the State’s policies and attitudes towards the self-employed.

Cuba’s self-employed workers also have to contend with a dilapidated infrastructure, excessive bureaucratic constraints, insufficient sources of funding (excluding remittances), logistical difficulties do to the existence of primitive (quasi-formal) supply chains, government restrictions regarding the accumulation of capital (or concentration of wealth), and limited property rights. In addition, they lack access to mobile payment platforms, advanced (computerized) accounting and transactions (or sales) recording systems, and modern procurement and purchasing systems.

In terms of market segment concentration, it is worth noting that a notable share of self-employed workers is engaged in tourist-oriented activities such as food services (servicios de gastronomía), lodging or hospitality (alquileres), and transportation. Many of these depend on remittances from abroad as a primary source of working capital, and the majority of their client base consists of tourists and foreign visitors. Primarily catering to a limited (albeit affluent) market segment, rather than to a wider strata of the Cuban population, limits their market share and opportunities for growth and expansion.

Despite facing these challenges and limitations, the number self-employed workers in Cuba continues to expand (albeit at a slower pace in recent years), demonstrating the resilience of the entrepreneurial spirit that has historically characterized a significant portion of the Island’s population.

Given the growing importance of self-employment in the Cuban economy in recent years, the strong transnational linkages between a significant portion of self-employed workers and their friends and relatives in the United States, new U.S. policies towards Cuba are likely to impact this key sector of the Cuban economy in several ways:

  1. Continued expansion of self-employment activities, including new more value-added categories.
  2. Improved access to credit and equity capital to finance small-scale private business ventures.
  3. Opening to foreign investment, including partnerships with Cubans residing abroad.
  4. Future expansion of firm size, scope, and areas of operations.
  5. Greater share of total employment and contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), tax payments, and social security system contributions.
  6. Adoption of modern point of sales (POS) systems, accounting systems, and inventory anagement systems to track sales and report business operations (and thereby improve the State’s ability to collect taxes from microenterprises and self-employed workers).

Despite all the potential (positive) effects of the new US policy approach with regards to self-employment, their real impact “on the front lines” depends on whether or not the Cuban government has the political will to implement deeper reform measures that will reduce the monopoly of the State, while permitting the expansion of the private sector by eliminating the “internal embargo.” On the economic front, this can be accomplished by lifting the internal restrictions, excessive regulations, onerous taxation, and bureaucratic limitations imposed by the State on the self-employed. On the political front, this process would require a radical shift in the State’s perceptions and attitudes towards the self-employed, recognizing Cuba’s emerging entrepreneurial class not only as a source of tax revenue for the State, but as primarily as a an engine of job creation, wealth formation, and the economic growth and development.


*Mario A. González-Corzo, Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Business, LEHMAN COLLEGE, City University of New York (CUNY), and is a Research Associate, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS), University of Miami

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The papers presented at the 2014 Conference of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy are now available.

Cuba in Transition: Volume 24: Papers and Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Meeting.

The papers listed below are hypewr-linked to directly to their respective file on the ASCE web site.

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By Mario A. Gonzalez-Corzo and Armando Nova Gonzalez

New PictureOriginal Article here:

 13903139641_7655cbec7c_bMario A. Gonzalez-Corzo and Armando Nova Gonzalez


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Journal of Devevelopment Entrepreneurship, 19, 1450015 (2014) [26 pages] DOI: 10.1142/S1084946714500150

The complete essay is available here, though access is restricted, unfortunately, unless your University provides automatic access:


This paper examines the evolution of Cuba’s self-employed entrepreneurs since the sector became an officially-recognized alternative to State sector employment in 2010. Despite the expansion of authorized self-employment activities and the implementation of gradual economic reforms to “update” the country’s socialist economic model since 2010, Cuba’s emerging self-employed entrepreneurs still face a series of constraints and limitations, such as an onerous tax system, underdeveloped banking and financial sectors, lack of access to organized input markets and a still hostile business climate that hinder their ability to expand and contribute to the country’s economic growth.

Orlando Justo is in the  Department of Economics and Business, City University of New York (CUNY), Lehman College, Carman Hall, 377, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468, USA

Mario Gonzalez Corzo (Ph.D. Rutgers University) is Associate Professor at the Department of Economics at Lehman College (CUNY). He is also Faculty Fellow at the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and a Research Associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami, FL.  His research interests and areas of specialization include Cuba’s post-Soviet economic developments, agricultural reforms, entrepreneurship, and financial sector reforms in post-socialist transition economies.

MarioMario Gonzalez Corzo



Mercado Artesanal 2, on the MaleconCrafts Market, on the Malecon

Picture2dfThe Barrio Chino

24327_1371007285628_1545135432_919301_1742016_nPortrait Photographer, at the Capitolio

Cuba-Spring-2010-002Bicitaxis, Central Havana

Picture2aCrafts Market, by the Plaza de la Catedral


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