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The Economy of Puerto Rico: Restoring Growth Paperback – June 22, 2006
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"This volume offers a trove of information and lessons to be avoided. Recommended." E. Pang, Colorado School of Mines, CHOICE, 3/1/2007
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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What fascinated me the most about this book was the chapter/essay format in which each of 8 central chapters were written by a separate team of scholars and economists and then subsequently critiqued by at least two scholars with differing viewpoints. In all of my studies across a myriad of subjects, I do not believe I have ever encountered such a brilliant and honest format. If the work was partially sponsored by special interest groups, it does not show. In fact, the often harsh cross-examination and rebuttal of many chapter findings in the comments at the end of each chapter provide the reader with a fair-debate format in which they can reach their own conclusions. Furthermore, because each chapter was written independently, an astute reader can easily filter out individual biases by cross-referencing statistics and developing his/her own complete picture. In other words, the fact that several of the chapters conclusions contradict one another is a good thing because it shows the entire volume was not edited to produce a pre-determined viewpoint or recommendation.
The conclusion chapter does make recommendations that may have some bias (which is why you must read every page of the book), but that bias was not enforced upon the chapter/essay writers or the upon the writers of the chapter critique-comments appearing at the end of each central chapter. This book provides a sufficient quantity of raw information necessary to obtain an unbiased and accurate perspective of the topics covered. By reading, re-reading, cross-referencing and keeping an array of mental variables, it is possible to filter out statistical misrepresentation and editorial bias.
There are 8 central chapters (excluding the introduction and summary) covering the following topics (Economic Growth, Labor Supply and Public Transfers, Low Employment Participation, Education and Economic Development, The Climate for Business Development, Assessing Puerto Rico's Fiscal Policies, Financing Economic Development, and Trade Performance and Industrial Policy).
It is my opinion that this book should be required reading for college students of economics and politic science as it substantially goes beyond the subject of the Economy of Puerto Rico to cover, explain and define an array of economic and political topics as well as statistical principles relevant to the understanding of the wide-range-dynamics of any economy in the world.
It is important to note that among the sponsors of the book are the island's largest bank and many other large corporations, which may account for the report's criticism of the use of the Federal Minimum Wage laws there. Again, it is a must read but with a critical mind set.