Abstract: In this paper I examine the reasons on why some poor countries seem to achieve economic growth, while some others do not. Can we decide which country that will succeed beforehand, or is it simply a matter of policy? I take my starting point in the economist Jeffrey D. Sachs framework on why nations are failing in achieving economic growth, and apply those classifications on the comparative case of Haiti and the Dominican Republic to try to examine any divergences. The comparison between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is an interesting one. Not only do they share the island Hispaniola in the Caribbean, they also share a colonial heritage, years of political instability and being hosts of two of the most evil dictators Latin America ever has seen, Rafael Trujillo and Francois Duvalier. They also shared an economic development rate up until the 1960s, when something suddenly happened, and during the course of 50 years, Dominican Republic has almost tripled their BNP per capita while Haiti has halved theirs. My main purpose in this study is to analyze variables such as poverty, geography, fiscal policies, governance, culture, geopolitics, innovations and investments, demographics and emigration to see if they can explain the economic divergence between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. My results suggests that different policy decisions and bad governance are the main reason behind the divergence between these two countries.
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