Cuba’s casas particulares: an analysis of informality, social capital, entrepreneurship and sustainability
As part of the growing tourism industry in Cuba, staying in a private person’s home as a tourist, in what is known as casas particulares, has become increasingly popular. This paper utilizes qualitative, short-term ethnographic methods to research casas particulares (also referred to as casas) and the conditions they operate under. Networks, social capital and collectivism play an important role in the running of casas. These are affected by the entrepreneurial climate, which is unique in Cuba. Likewise, informality is a key element in the running and development of casas. To this, we conclude that the informal economy fills the gaps where formalized resources are not available. Yet, these types of transactions and exchanges are not included in most government strategies. Further, in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), informality is seen as a transition-based development step. We urge governments to be more inclusive in their strategies and consider the opportunities informality can provide under certain circumstances.
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