Decentralization, participation, and consumer services: A case study of municipal enterprises in Cuba

2006 2006

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Abstract (summary)

The dissertation considers the decentralization of some economic activities, mostly in consumer services, to municipal governments in Cuba since the mid-1970s, and popular participation in municipal governments and services through the system known as Popular Power. The consumer service sector is considered one of the most inefficient in Cuba, as in many of the formerly centrally-planned socialist economies, and a source of widespread dissatisfaction despite being the sector most open to the mechanisms of popular participation. Comparisons are drawn with the social services, also decentralized but under different conditions and with very different results, and with productive sectors of the economy that remained under central control.

The study focuses on municipal enterprises in Cuba and addresses three key questions. First, to what extent have the municipalities been able to self-manage the municipal enterprises, given the degree of centralization of the economy? Second, how effectively have they been able to use whatever power they have to self-manage? And third, how participatory or representative is the management of these enterprises with respect to the community as a whole? Findings include problems of excessive centralization and rigidity, disarticulation from broader structures, internal problems of incentives, bureaucracy, and hierarchy, and severe limits on the forms, scope, and effectiveness of popular participation.

Three periods are considered: one of relative stability and central planning from the beginning of the Popular Power system in the 1970s through the 1980s, another of economic crisis beginning in the early 1990s, and the current period of recovery and restructuring since the mid-1990s. Changes in the structure and functioning of the municipal enterprises and governments are examined in the context of a changing national and international context, including the growth of legal and illegal private actors in many of the same services provided by the municipalities and the increasing reliance on markets and hard-currency transactions. A case study involving interviews, data collection, and participant observation in the municipality of Regla is presented as a complement to analysis of official documents and use of prior investigations and case studies by Cuban and foreign researchers.

Indexing (details)

Public administration;
Customer services;
Customer satisfaction;
Government sponsored enterprises;
0501: Economics
0617: Public administration
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Consumer services; Cuba; Decentralization; Municipal enterprises
Decentralization, participation, and consumer services: A case study of municipal enterprises in Cuba
Malinowitz, Stanley
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 67/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Deere, Carmen Diana
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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