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Lindkvist, Calle and Hedborg, Lisa, 2023. Institutional dynamics in Cuban agriculture : a case study from three Cuban farms. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



Cuba is still subjected to the trade embargo imposed by the United States in 1962, restricting global trade and historically forcing Cuba into a dependency on the Soviet Union for energy, oil, and agricultural inputs. Today's agricultural system in Cuba bears the imprint of this historical reliance in the form of institutional constraints that shape Cuban farmers everyday activities. Our thesis aims to identify institutions affecting the agricultural activities on three Cuban farms using a method consisting of interviews and field observations. Furthermore, we examine whether identified institutions are adapting to the structural changes of the post-Castro era. Empirical evidence is analyzed using a theoretical framework based on concepts including institutions, pre-definitions and habits, bureaucracy, and new institutionalism.
In the context of Cuban agriculture this thesis identifies both informal and formal institutions present on the three farms. Our findings identified the Cuban farmer as an informal institution consisting of collective notions of what it means to be a Cuban farmer. Additionally, we also identified practices from the era of state agricultural collectives as an informal institution. We address how habits from the era of state agricultural collectives are passed down through generations and become institutionalized.
Secondly, this thesis also identifies bureaucracy as a formal institution, notably the Cuban agricultural bureaucracy (CAB). This thesis emphasizes the bureaucratic problems that Cuban farmers face, such as complex regulations, delays in obtaining essential equipment, and the significance of connections and privileges within the system.
Lastly the thesis discusses institutional change in Cuban agriculture. Cuba's government has expressed interest in restructuring the agriculture industry and decentralizing some authority to cooperatives. Alongside farmers have experienced legislative changes that, for example, guaranteed greater access to farmers' markets. While there is a desire for change, our thesis emphasizes that the historical context and path-dependency of institutions continue to exert influence. While large external events such as COVID-19 and subsequent emigration have also had significant impacts on Cuba, potentially pushing the government to take action for change.

Main title:Institutional dynamics in Cuban agriculture
Subtitle:a case study from three Cuban farms
Authors:Lindkvist, Calle and Hedborg, Lisa
Supervisor:Alarcon Ferrari, Cristian
Examiner:Beckman, Malin
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:NY009 Agriculture Programme - Rural Development 300 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:institutions, institutional change, Cuba, agriculture, path-dependency, informal constraints, formal constraints
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Rural sociology and social security
Deposited On:08 Aug 2023 08:36
Metadata Last Modified:08 Aug 2023 08:36

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