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v2.1 Reference

Market, Socialist, and Mixed Economies

Comparative Policy and Performance--Chile, Cuba, and Costa Rica

How can we determine which economic model best provides for economic development and social welfare? In this major comparative work, noted economist Carmelo Mesa-Lago analyzes three Latin American countries with divergent economic systems: Chile (a market economy), Cuba (socialist), and Costa Rica (mixed). He examines their economic and social policies, shows how these policies affect performance based on a set of socioeconomic variables, and ranks the countries among themselves (using new techniques) and in comparison with international indicators. The time frame of the study embraces thirty-eight years for Costa Rica (under the democratic social democracy) and Cuba (under the socialist revolution) and twenty-four years for Chile (under Pinochet and the return to democracy). Mesa-Lago focuses on the three diverse socioeconomic models that these countries represent during these periods.

About the Authors

Carmelo Mesa-Lago is theDistinguished Service Professor Emeritus of economics and Latin American studies at the University of Pittsburgh and a former professor of international relations at Florida International University. His works on Latin America's social security and health care, the Cuban economy, and comparative economic systems have been published in eight languages and in thirty-two countries.


A remarkable work, even by the exacting standards Carmelo Mesa-Lago has set himself over his long and distinguished career. It offers depth as well as breadth combined with a mass of detailed statistical information that has been honed carefully to ensure comparability across countries.

- Victor Bulmer-Thomas - Journal of Latin American Studies

This ambitious and massive book is the pinnacle of Professor Mesa-Lago's long and distinguished career. It is a tour de force that is a must for serious scholars in the field of comparative economic systems.

- Katherine Terrell - Journal of Comparative Economics

This is a hugely impressive and informative work that examines an important economic and political issue... an ambitious and successful project, with a wealth of detail on economic policies in three different economic models.

- Bruce Wilson - Latin American Politics and Society

[This book] is a treasure trove of useful information for country specialists and generalists... an impressive volume.

- Kurt Weyland - South Eastern Latin Americanist

With the thoroughness, single-mindedness, and creativity that has characterized his scholarly work Mesa-Lago has tackled the very difficult topic of contemporary Latin American economic development. [His book] is accessible to advanced undergraduate and graduate students as well as to professionals. The profession owes a debt of gratitude to [him] for undertaking this monumental effort.

- Jorge F. Pérez-López - Cuban Studies

An interesting, groundbreaking, and substantial academic work.

- British Bulletin of Publications

A thorough and rigorous work, with robust and convincing conclusions... a study of import and interest, not only for those who are involved with the three analyzed economies, but in general to any reader in developing countries interested in how to improve the combination of growth and equity with democracy.

- Joseph R. Ramos - Nueva Sociedad, Caracas

This book is recommendable because of the methodic stringency of the country comparisons (that is missing in many other comparative country studies), and for the amount of detailed information and data on the specific countries. [It also] closes holes in the economic statistics of the international organizations.

- Hartmut Sangmeister - Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft

This book will become a standard of reference for those interested in Latin America and in the methodology for comparative economic analysis.

- Juan A. B. Belt - Cuba in Transition

[This book] is a landmark, a new point of departure and shall be part of any future analysis.

- Alejandro De La Fuente - Encuenro, Madrid

[ Market, Socialist, and Mixed Economies] is in my view the best comparative study involving these three Latin America economies. Carmelo Mesa-Lago has succeeded in bringing together rich empirical evidence within an attractive conceptual framework. He has greatly advanced our understanding of the functioning of the socialist, mixed and market economies.

- Jan Svejnar - Revista de Ciencias Sociales, Costa Rica
Johns Hopkins University Press
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