Matched pairs is a standard technique in statistics to reveal whether there are differences in behavior.
The key is, who to match. We probably shouldn’t match Cuba with Spain because the latter was its imperial owner for so long. So how about Cuba and Portugal – the latter was clearly worse off than Cuba when Castro took over, and had its own problems with dictators over the last 50 years.
Here’s a video – move the slider to 1950 and click play.
It shows how life expectancy has gone up in both countries at about the same rate – that’s the vertical axis.
But, real GDP per capita – the variable most closely associated with quality of life – does not change at the same rate.
Via Cafe Hayek.