1. In the parlance of the economist, “rents” are payments to factors of production (capital, labor) in excess of normal returns in competitive markets. Governments that operate monopolistic state-owned enterprises or limit competition through excessive regulation or trade restrictions create economic rents and therefore opportunities for corrupt rent-seeking behavior. Krueger (1974) pioneered the term “rent seeking” to describe the behavior of corrupt officials who take advantage of imperfectly competitive markets to seek bribes.
2. In Nicaragua, the property grab that occurred at the end of the Sandinista government is generally referred to as the piñata. A similar process occurred in Cambodia following the Khmer Rouge era and the Vietnamese occupation (Gottesman 2003).
3. Liquidation was not the chosen privatization method of any country but was the default method in some instances where the use of others was not feasible.
4. The early expropriations were related to properties owned by former Batista government officials and allegedly acquired through corrupt practices. The legal bases for confiscating these properties were never validated by standard rule-of-law practices, and conceivably at least some of those expropriations could have been or will be subjected to legal challenge.
I. Since this chapter’s objective is to provide an overview of the literature to set the context for the Cuba-specific analysis that follows, we have built our review largely on two comprehensive edited collections (Abed and Gupta 2002; Heidenheimer and Johnston 2002) that aptly highlight some of the most important literature on the topic. We acknowledge our reliance on these two sources and, where appropriate, refer to other sources we have consulted.