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ECS 3431 Economics of the Caribbean Basin



Dr. Irma Alonso

Department of Economics Phones:

(305) 348 – 2317

(305) 348 – 2316

(305) 348 - 3284

Department of Economics Office:

MMC DM-316

[Please be aware that I do not have an office on campus]

Department of Economics Fax:

(305) 348 - 1524

Office Hours:

By appointment only, using the Chat Room through Adobe Connect


Please use Blackboard Course Mail


ECS 3431 - Economics of the Caribbean Basin

The objective of this course is to introduce the student to the unique characteristics of the Caribbean Basin economies. These are small open economies that, although located in the same area, they are different in terms of their history, culture, language, population, as well as their social, political, and economic conditions. The students will learn about the Caribbean Basin region by sharing knowledge. It is intended to involve the students in an active learning experience to include many of the features that describe the Caribbean Basin area. Students will be required to participate in class discussions, work collaboratively with other classmates in group projects, as well as write individual essays and reports.

The Caribbean islands can be grouped into various classifications. By size, the Greater Antilles include Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, while the other islands could be counted in among the Lesser Antilles. By language, English, Spanish, Dutch, and French are among those found. By political status some of these nations are independent while others are colonies or territories of the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, and the United States. With the exception of Cuba, all the other countries have some kind of democratic government. The common characteristic found is that all are small open economies. All these differences and similarities make the Caribbean an interesting area to study. As expressed by Dennis Pantin (2005), the study of “Caribbean Economics” started in 1950, with the paper “The Industrialization of the British West Indies” written by W. Arthur Lewis.

This course is offered during Summer B 2015 and all the work of a regular semester lasting 16 weeks has to be squeezed into 40 days. For this reason some of the assignments are due during weekends and/or national holidays. If you want to avoid working during those days, you are free to submit your work ahead of time. As group work is required for this course, it is very important that you coordinate with your team how work and responsibilities are is to be divided. You will affect others in the team and you will be affected by others in the team. Clear communication is necessary for the team to work properly. Remember that your grade in the course is your responsibility: if others do not submit their work you will have to take charge as it is your grade that is going to be affected. If you are not willing to work cooperatively then this course is not right for you.

Countries to be analyzed

  1. Anguilla

  2. Antigua and Barbuda

  3. Aruba

  4. Bahamas

  5. Barbados

  6. Bonaire

  7. British Virgin Islands

  8. Cayman Islands

  9. Cuba

  10. Curacao

  11. Dominica

  12. Dominican Republic

  13. Grenada

  14. Guadeloupe

  15. Haiti

  16. Jamaica

  17. Martinique

  18. Montserrat

  19. Puerto Rico

  20. St. Kitts and Nevis

  21. St. Lucia

  22. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

  23. Trinidad and Tobago

  24. Turks and Caicos Islands

  25. US Virgin Islands

These 25 countries will be divided into 10 groups as follows:


The class will be divided into ten groups to study the selected Caribbean countries. Data collection and research reports on the topics assigned will be prepared by each group. Adobe Connect will be utilized to communicate and record the collaboration between members of the groups. On a first-come, first-served basis, students will select to which group they want to belong to. There will be a maximum of 4 students per group. Essays and reports will be submitted for evaluation to, using the Assignment Dropbox.

Group 1

Cuba, Cayman Islands

Group 2

Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos Islands

Group 3

Jamaica, British Virgin Islands

Group 4

Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands

Group 5

Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique

Group 6

Trinidad & Tobago, Anguilla, St Kitts & Nevis

Group 7

Bahamas, St. Lucia

Group 8

Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda

Group 9

Grenada, Dominica, Montserrat

Group 10

St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao


Through assignments to be submitted, students will be able to:

  1. Identify an important geographical area, by listing, describing, and locating countries belonging to the Caribbean Basin

  2. Classify the countries of the Caribbean Basin by different levels of social, economic, and political circumstances

  3. Interpret statistics of the different Caribbean countries

  4. Compare and contrast Caribbean countries by different levels of achievements

  5. Evaluate the successes/failures of different occurrences affecting the Caribbean Area

  6. Collaborate with classmates in data collection

  7. Write individual and/or group research reports on the topics assigned


This course serves as an elective in the major of Economics and it could be used to satisfy the Certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. It also could be used as a free elective.


No specific textbook is required for this course, but the following books will be useful for the course:

Palmer, R.W. (2009). The Caribbean Economy in the Age of Globalization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN-13: 978-0-230-60380-6

Pantin, Dennis (Editor). (2005). The Caribbean Economy: A Reader. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers. ISBN: 976-637-110-5 (paperback).

Rhodd, Rupert, et. al. (2007). Contemporary Issues in the Development of Caribbean Economies. Lauderhill, FL: Garai Books. ISBN: 978-1-58736-786-1 (paperback).

Some very suitable sites and important sources of information/reference are:

The FIU Library has the Digital Library of the Caribbean available at: Anyone can instantly register for myDLOC.

Caribbean-Central America Profile. (Trinidad and Tobago: JTZ Publishing, 2007). The latest edition is available at the Reference Desk of the FIU Green Library. Call number: HF3311.8 .C374 

CIA – The World Factbook, available at:

Caribbean Development Bank, Annual Economic Reviews, available at:

Eastern Caribbean Central Banks, 2010 WCCB Economic Review, available at: - This site allows the user to create custom tables based on indicators, countries, and years of choice.

ECLAC. (2011). Latin America and the Caribbean in the World Economy 2010-2011. The region in the decade of the emerging economies, available at:

The World Bank. Socio-Economic Database for Latin America and the Caribbean, available at:

UNDP. Latin America and the Caribbean. Available at:

UNDP. Caribbean Human Development Report, 2012. Available at:

UNDP. First Human Development Report for Latin America and the Caribbean, 2010. Available at:

UNDP, Human Development Reports, available at:

United Nations Statistical Division. Available at:

CARICOM Secretariat (2005) CARICOM: Our Caribbean Community, Kingston : Ian Randle Publishers  

CARICOM Secretariat Regional Statistics. Available at:

Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico. Economic Indicators: Time Series. Available at:

BIGS (The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), available at:

World Bank – World Development Indicators. Available at:

United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, available at:

Other sources will be added throughout the semester, as needed.


This course has a pre-requisite of Principles of Economics, or instructor’s approval.

For more information about prerequisites, click here.

(Note to Developer: Use this for CAS)


  • E-mail: Contact me via my Blackboard email, if needed, to discuss private matters related to course material. Expect a reply within 48 hours (if not sooner).

  • Discussion Forum: It will be used for class discussions and other postings of general interest that are directly related to the course. Everyone can read Discussion Forum postings; therefore, do not post private information that you don’t want others to read.

  • Adobe Connect: it will be used to record communication among groups of students working in groups to collect data and write reports. It can also be used to conduct Office Hours, as needed, at previously agreed dates and times.


A. The Meaning of Letter Grades.

  • "A" is given only for excellent work.

  • "B" is awarded for good work.

  • "C" is fair or satisfactory work.

  • "D" is given for poor work.

  • "F" is unsatisfactory or failing.

B. Assignment Values




Introduction   (1 required)
Introduce yourself and welcome others in the Open Forum discussion board conference during the 1st week of course and join a study group. 

Due by June 26, 2015

1  @  10 pts


Syllabus Quiz (1 required)
 Take during the 1st week of class as directed. 

Due by June 26, 2015

1 @ 10 pts


Evaluation of video of your choice

Due by June 26, 2015

10 pts


M2A1:Data collection to fill Tables 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 and Quiz # 1

10 points for data collection/collaboration/compilation, 10 points for the quiz and 10 points for submission of the data at the time the quiz is taken


M3A4Essay evaluating W. Arthur Lewis article

20 points


Data collection/collaboration

M3A1, M3A2,M3A3, M4A1, M4A2

10 points each


Essays evaluating social and economic conditions, to be submitted through M3A1, M3A2,M3A3, M4A1, M4A2 (2 reports for each one) at 10 points each


5 quizzes corresponding to M3A1, M3A2, M3A3, M4A1 and M4A2 (10 points each + 5 points for the compiled tables to be submitted with each quiz)




Your grade will be based on your performance on the course requirements. Points are earned based on the values for each course requirement stated above. Grading Criteria are used to evaluate these activities.

C. The following grade scale will be used to determine your semester grade. 




























As a college, we care about and enforce the Policies and Procedures as they are important to the quality of the education we are providing to you. Details on FIU Policies can be found at:


As a college, we care about students with special needs. To receive these services it is required from the student to self-identify as a student with a disability and to present required documentation. For further information and to register at the Disability Resource Center, you can visit the DRC at the MMC in Graham Center, Room 190 or at the BBC in Wolfe University Center Room 131. To make an appointment you have the following options: call MMC at 305-348-3532, or send an email to:; at the BBC you can call 305-919-5345 or send an email to:


The FIU library provides a number of services to distance learning students. For example:

  • Students can request a chat session in Blackboard for an explanation on how to access library resources.

  • Students can request detailed instructions on how to access library resources.

  • One-on-One assistance from the Distance Learning Librarian.

Don't struggle through your library research alone! Help is available. For further information, contact Sarah Hammill, Distance Learning Librarian, via email at or call 305-919-5604.

You can visit the FIU Library at:


Each Module has specific assignments, as indicated for each Activity, with specific due dates. All assignments are to be evaluated by as they are submitted to the Assignment Dropbox. The Assignment Dropbox is linked to the Grade book and this is the only way in which grades are counted. Work submitted by emails will not be accepted as they are not evaluated by


This is a fully online course, meaning that all course work (100%) will be conducted online. Expectations for performance in fully online courses are the same as for traditional courses; in fact, fully online courses require a degree of self-motivation, self-discipline, and technology skills that can make them more demanding for some students.

Fully online courses are not independent study courses. You will be expected to interact online with the professor and your fellow students; to do assignments; to meet deadlines; and in many classes, to work in virtual groups.

Tips for Success in your online course, click here.

It is very important that online etiquette be followed at all times. You should be aware of the common rules of netiquette and employ them at all times. In particular, follow the following rules: (1) do not use all CAPITAL LETTERS for a message, (2) always practice good grammar, (3) use spell check and proofread your messages before posting, and above all, (4) be respectful and considerate with your classmates,. For additional information on Online Etiquette, click here.

COURSE CALENDAR: June 22-July 31, 2015


Modules and Topics

June 22-26

M1A1: Introduction

Review and fully familiarize yourself with the course and site.

Print and read the course syllabus and course calendar.

Introduce yourself to the class including your picture.

Take the syllabus quiz.

Select a group you want to belong.

Submit your evaluation and analysis of a video dealing with a Caribbean issue.


June 27-July 1

M2A1: Getting to know the Caribbean region: Location of the countries, capital city, territorial extension, language, total population, overall GDP, currency, , population by gender, population urban/rural, population density, birth rate, mortality rate, life expectancy, literacy rate, historical aspects.

July 2-6

M3A1: Social Indicators

July 7-11

M3A2: Economic Indicators

July 12-16

M3A3: Changes in the economic sectors in the last 20/30 years: agriculture, mining, manufacturing, services

July 17-21

M3A4: W. Arthur Lewis and the Industrialization of the Caribbean economies

July 22-26

M4A1: Millennium Development Goals 1,2,3

July 27-31

M4A2: Millennium Development Goals 4,5,6

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