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Cómo puede recuperarse Puerto Rico

NUEVA YORK – La economía de Puerto Rico se ha venido contrayendo desde hace casi diez años -una de las peores recesiones en la historia reciente entre economías que no experimentan un conflicto interno. Por cierto, su derrumbe se ha prolongado muchísimo más que el que experimentaron, por caso, los estados bálticos, que también soportaron fuertes contracciones luego de la crisis financiera global de 2008. ¿Por qué la economía de Puerto Rico no se ha recuperado?

La situación en el territorio autónomo de Estados Unidos efectivamente se ve funesta. Puerto Rico sólo es superado por Grecia en términos de la tasa de contracción del PIB (14% de 2006 a 2015). La inversión ha caído más del 30% desde 2006 y el empleo, más del 20%. Frente a las escasas oportunidades de trabajo, aproximadamente el 1% de la población de la isla está migrando a los Estados Unidos continentales cada año.

Una diferencia clave entre la crisis de Puerto Rico y las de Grecia y los estados bálticos es que comenzó antes que la crisis financiera global. En verdad, la economía no había experimentado un crecimiento sólido desde mediados de los años 1970, cuando el ingreso per capita ya representaba apenas un tercio del de Estados Unidos. La subsiguiente crisis económica hizo que la brecha de ingresos se ampliara. En un sentido, Puerto Rico es un ejemplo temprano de una economía que quedó atascada en la llamada trampa del ingreso medio.

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