Restoring Growth in Puerto Rico: Overview and Policy Options

Brookings Institution Press
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As a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico enjoys the benefits of key U.S. legal, monetary, security, and tariff systems, and its residents are U.S. citizens. In the decades following World War II, Puerto Rico emerged as one of the world's fastest-growing economies. From 1950 to 1970 per capita income nearly doubled as a percentage of the U.S. average, making the island the richest economy in Latin America. Since the mid-1970s, however, labor force attachment has declined, economic growth has slowed, and the island's living standards have fallen further behind those on the mainland. Today more than half of all Puerto Rican children live below the U.S. poverty level. Why did Puerto Rico's economic progress stall? And more important, what can be done to restore growth? A number of overlapping concerns—labor supply and demand, entrepreneurship, the fiscal situation, financial markets, and trade——are at the heart of its economic difficulties. This is a companion volume to Restoring Growth: The Economy of Puerto Rico (Brookings, 2006), in which economists from Puerto Rico and the United States examine the island's economy and propose strategies for sustainable growth. This monograph summarizes the analyses published in that volume and presents a set of policy recommendations to increase employment, improve education, upgrade infrastructure, and fix government finances. Contributors include James Alm (Georgia State University), Barry P. Bosworth and Gary Burtless (Brookings Institution), Susan M. Collins (Brookings Institution and Georgetown University), Steven J. Davis (University of Chicago), María E. Enchautegui, Juan Lara, Luis A. Rivera- Batiz, and Orlando Sotomayor (University of Puerto Rico), Richard B. Freeman and Robert Z. Lawrence (Harvard University), Helen F. Ladd (Duke University), Rita Maldonado-Bear and Ingo Walter (New York University), Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz (Columbia University), and Miguel A. Soto-Class (Center for the New Economy).
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About the author

Susan M. Collins is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and a professor of economics at Georgetown University. Her publications focus on various dimensions of economic policy and performance for developing countries. Barry Bosworth is a senior fellow and Robert V. Roosa Chair in International Economics at the Brookings Institution. Miguel A. Soto-Class is the executive director of the Center for the New Economy, a Puerto Rico-based think tank focusing on economic development issues.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Aug 29, 2007
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Pages
136
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ISBN
9780815715597
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism
Political Science / Political Economy
Social Science / Developing & Emerging Countries
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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A non-incorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico operates under U.S. legal, monetary, security and tariff systems. Despite sharing in these and other key U.S. institutions, Puerto Rico has experienced economic stagnation and large scale unemployment since the 1970s. The island's living standards are low by U.S. standards, with a per capita income only half that of Mississippi, the poorest state. While many studies have analyzed the fiscal implications of Puerto Rico's political relationship with the United States, little research has focused broadly on the island's economic experience or assessed its growth prospects. In this innovative new book, economists from U.S. and Puerto Rican institutions address a range of major policy issues affecting the island's economic development. To frame the current situation, the contributors begin by assessing Puerto Rico's past experience with various growth policies. They then analyze several reforms and new initiatives in labor, education, entrepreneurship, fiscal policy, migration, trade, and financing development, which they incorporate into a proposed strategy for jumpstarting Puerto Rican economic growth. Contributors include Gary Burtless (Brookings Institution); Orlando Sotomayor, Luis Rivera-Batiz, Ramón Cao, Maria Enchautegui, José Joaquín Villamil, Eileen Segarra, Marinés Aponte, and Juan Lara (University of Puerto Rico); Richard Freeman and Robert Lawrence (Harvard University); Helen Ladd (Duke University); Francisco Rivera-Batiz (Columbia University); Steven Davis and Bruce Meyer (University of Chicago); James Alm (Georgia State University); Ingo Walter, Rita Maldonado-Bear, and William Baumol (New York University); Belinda Reyes (University of California, Merced); Alan Krueger (Princeton University); Carlos Santiago (University of Wisconsin); David Audretsch (Indiana University); Ronald Fisher (Michigan State University); Fuat Andic (UN Advisor); Arturo Estrella (NY Federal Reserve); James Hanson and Daniel Lederman (World Bank); James Dietz (University of California, Fullerton); and Katherine Terrell (University of Michigan).
In 1950, after over fifty years of military occupation and colonial rule, the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico staged an unsuccessful armed insurrection against the United States. Violence swept through the island: assassins were sent to kill President Harry Truman, gunfights roared in eight towns, police stations and post offices were burned down. In order to suppress this uprising, the US Army deployed thousands of troops and bombarded two towns, marking the first time in history that the US government bombed its own citizens.

Nelson A. Denis tells this powerful story through the controversial life of Pedro Albizu Campos, who served as the president of the Nationalist Party. A lawyer, chemical engineer, and the first Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard Law School, Albizu Campos was imprisoned for twenty-five years and died under mysterious circumstances. By tracing his life and death, Denis shows how the journey of Albizu Campos is part of a larger story of Puerto Rico and US colonialism.

Through oral histories, personal interviews, eyewitness accounts, congressional testimony, and recently declassified FBI files, War Against All Puerto Ricans tells the story of a forgotten revolution and its context in Puerto Rico's history, from the US invasion in 1898 to the modern-day struggle for self-determination. Denis provides an unflinching account of the gunfights, prison riots, political intrigue, FBI and CIA covert activity, and mass hysteria that accompanied this tumultuous period in Puerto Rican history.
A non-incorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico operates under U.S. legal, monetary, security and tariff systems. Despite sharing in these and other key U.S. institutions, Puerto Rico has experienced economic stagnation and large scale unemployment since the 1970s. The island's living standards are low by U.S. standards, with a per capita income only half that of Mississippi, the poorest state. While many studies have analyzed the fiscal implications of Puerto Rico's political relationship with the United States, little research has focused broadly on the island's economic experience or assessed its growth prospects. In this innovative new book, economists from U.S. and Puerto Rican institutions address a range of major policy issues affecting the island's economic development. To frame the current situation, the contributors begin by assessing Puerto Rico's past experience with various growth policies. They then analyze several reforms and new initiatives in labor, education, entrepreneurship, fiscal policy, migration, trade, and financing development, which they incorporate into a proposed strategy for jumpstarting Puerto Rican economic growth. Contributors include Gary Burtless (Brookings Institution); Orlando Sotomayor, Luis Rivera-Batiz, Ramón Cao, Maria Enchautegui, José Joaquín Villamil, Eileen Segarra, Marinés Aponte, and Juan Lara (University of Puerto Rico); Richard Freeman and Robert Lawrence (Harvard University); Helen Ladd (Duke University); Francisco Rivera-Batiz (Columbia University); Steven Davis and Bruce Meyer (University of Chicago); James Alm (Georgia State University); Ingo Walter, Rita Maldonado-Bear, and William Baumol (New York University); Belinda Reyes (University of California, Merced); Alan Krueger (Princeton University); Carlos Santiago (University of Wisconsin); David Audretsch (Indiana University); Ronald Fisher (Michigan State University); Fuat Andic (UN Advisor); Arturo Estrella (NY Federal Reserve); James Hanson and Daniel Lederman (World Bank); James Dietz (University of California, Fullerton); and Katherine Terrell (University of Michigan).
In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.
 
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