News Release

Scholars Present Study on Puerto Rico Economy to Congress

May 25, 2006

The most exhaustive study of the Puerto Rican economy done in the past 75 years says that the hoped-for renaissance will require that the private sector and government join together to create thousands of jobs and that tax and other policies have to be developed to make this happen.

The Economy of Puerto Rico: Restoring Growth, a joint project The Center for the New Economy in San Juan and The Brookings Institution in Washington, examines the island’s economic performance from its post-World War II boom through its stagnation during the past 25 years.

At an event held on Capitol Hill yesterday to launch the book, Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (Il-4-D) said, “?Economic development and growth should be an immediate task of all political parties on the island. “I am sure this book will constitute a welcome addition to an inescapable debate about the future of Puerto Rico’s economy.”

Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño said “I look forward to studying in detail the recommendations of the study, and will incorporate and will incorporate into my economic agenda, any reasonable and doable recommendations that will be beneficial to my constituents, the people of Puerto Rico.”

The Economy of Puerto Rico: Restoring Growth proposes innovative ways to develop Puerto Rico’s economy and implement strategies for future growth. The authors examine the island’s low-employment rates, comparatively small private sector, trade performance, and the effectiveness of its educational, financial and fiscal systems. Chapters also focus on the effects of key U.S. policies on the island, particularly in the areas of taxation and social transfers.

“Puerto Rico’s economy operates under unique constraints and has been suffering over the last two decades,” said Miguel Soto-Class, executive director of the Center for the New Economy (CNE) in Puerto Rico and an editor of the book. “This book lays the foundation for restoring economic growth—and hope to Puerto Rico.”

The book contributors who participated in the Capitol Hill event and in a separate conference at The Brookings Institution included Soto-Class; Brookings Senior Fellows Susan Collins and Barry Bosworth; Maria Enchautegui, a University of Puerto Rico professor of economics; and Steven Davis, from the University of Chicago and the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI).

“Reviving growth will require increasing the proportion of Puerto Ricans who are working – both through enhancing incentives to seek employment and through expanding private-sector job opportunities,” said Barry Bosworth, senior fellow in economic studies and a co-author of the book.

The Center for the New Economy is Puerto Rico’s first nonprofit, nonpartisan, economic policy think tank The Center for the New Economy focuses on economic development issues for Puerto Rico.

The Brookings Institution is a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions. Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2006, Brookings analyzes current and emerging issues and produces new ideas that matter – for the nation and the world.

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to conduct in-depth, nonpartisan research to improve policy and governance at local, national, and global levels.