Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jamaca and Barbados

There are a lot of interesting 'pairs' of countries which are similar in many ways but follow different trends.  North/South Korea, East/West Germany, China/Taiwan; but also some others.  Pakistan/India, or even Pakistan/India, Rwanda/Burundi, Chile/Argentina, Haiti/Dominican Republic.  

Add to that list Barbados and Jamaica, both former British colonies with a similar historical legacy.  Barbados took a more free-market approach and wound up doing far better.  The authors of the linked paper claim this supports favoring 'policy' over legal 'institutions,' but you have to have a pretty impoverished view of institutions to glide over the socialist characteristics of the country.  

I haven't looked too far into this, but it's also probable that different policy followed from different situations.  Jamaica looks like it had more resource endowments (so Dutch Disease), while Barbados seems better off overall.  

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