Restoring Growth: Forging the Road Ahead – 2017 CNE Conference Proceedings


CNE’s 2017 Conference was unique in many ways. Puerto Rico’s debt crisis provided an exacting but precious backdrop for a much-needed and multifaceted discussion on the current fiscal policies and the prospects for future structural change.

The two-day Conference consisted of seven events designed to bring the conversation about debt, uncertainty, austerity and growth to a wide variety of groups.

The highlight: the launch of the CNE Growth Commission for Puerto Rico and its first convening in San Juan.

Debt, Austerity and Growth – Joseph Stiglitz in San Juan


A variegated audience of over one thousand people gathered on April 6, 2017 at the San Juan Symphonic Hall to listen and reflect on Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz’ words of caution and forward-looking advise regarding Puerto Rico’s economic predicament. Stiglitz is one of 17 experts who conform pro-bono the CNE Growth Commission for Puerto Rico.

Click here to access a complete recording of the event.

Watch the following summary videos:

In introducing Stiglitz, CNE’s President and Founder Miguel A. Soto-Class stressed the need for ample involvement in the process of economic recovery and made an urgent call-to-action.

Stiglitz cautioned against the contractionary effects fiscal austerity measures will have on the island’s economy…

…and urged for growth measures as anchors of any fiscal and debt restructuring plans.

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Growth Amidst Uncertainty: A Free Market Perspective – A Conversation with Steven Davis


“Historically, the Puerto Rican tax code and regulatory system abound with provisions for special business interests…The result is a complicated web of policy-induced financial incentives that helps sustain a rent-seeking business culture and an overly intrusive role for the government.”
Steven Davis

On April 6, 2017, Steven Davis, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Global Economics and Management at the Sloan School of Management of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led a conversation with Puerto Rico entrepreneurs and business leaders on how free markets can help Puerto Rico create a healthier economic climate and foster growth. Davis, who is a pro-bono member of the CNE Growth Commission for Puerto Rico, argued in favor of simplifying regulations affecting the island’s business environment.

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Charting a Path Towards Growth – CNE Growth Commission All-Day Convening


The CNE Growth Commission for Puerto Rico convened for the first time in San Juan and began to craft an agenda focused on helping the island devise economic development opportunities and strengthen execution capabilities.

The Commission’s vision is based on the premise that – given the demands of a rapidly changing knowledge-based economy and heightened global competition – long-term sustained economic growth is a result of a country’s capability to move into higher value-added activities. Therefore, the Commission understands that any new economic strategy for long-term growth in Puerto Rico ought to be focused on:

  1. Speeding up the process of economic structural change by advancing the economy’s insertion in high-value niches, investing in innovation, and adopting new knowledge and technologies.
  2. Creating the institutional framework to promote this structural change; that is, revamping the institutions whose mission is to promote this transformation.
  3. Devising public policies that help raise the wellbeing of society in an inclusive manner, so that most of its members can benefit from the gains of improved economic performance.

Access the CNE’s Growth Commission Workplan

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Prompting a Far-Reaching Dialogue About Economic Recovery

With the objective of prompting a far-reaching dialogue about the process of economic recovery, the CNE 2017 Conference included also a series of workshops, presentations and meetings with Puerto Rico and US media, University of Puerto Rico students and the general public.

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Memo from a Working Group of the CNE Growth Commission to the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico

Devising economic development opportunities should be one of the most pressing goals for both U.S. and local policy makers. In the following memo, a Working Group of the CNE Growth Commission charts a preliminary vision for addressing the deeper, structural constraints to economic advancement and for spurring economic growth.

Click the following button to download the report:


Or read the document below:

Memo to Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico

Restoring sanity to the economy of Puerto Rico will require a long-term term approach. CNE is recommending to the U.S. Congress the creation of a permanent working group at the federal level focused on structural and long-term issues related to economic growth in Puerto Rico.

Click the following button to download the report:


Or read the document below:

Policy Paper: Devising a Growth Strategy for Puerto Rico

The following policy paper has been co-authored by José Antonio Ocampo – Co-Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue in Columbia University, former Executive Director of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and former Minister of Finance of Colombia – Deepak Lamba-Nieves, CNE’s Research Director and Sergio Marxuach, CNE’s Public Policy Director.

Click the following button to download the report:


Or read below:

CNE and Columbia University start to define the characteristics of a new Industrial Policy for Puerto Rico


Click the button to download the full report “Devising a Growth Strategy for Puerto Rico”


The “CNE Growth Commission” will work on a new growth strategy for the island

June 15 2016 – The Center for a New Economy (CNE) unveiled today in San Juan a joint report prepared with the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD) at Columbia University in New York which analyzes key components for a new Industrial Policy for Puerto Rico. Among the key processes are: correct coordination and market failures; identify and support new productive activities; design and implement structural economic reforms; revamp public institutions in charge of economic development; and foster a dynamic dialogue and consultation processes with different stakeholders. The term “industrial policy” refers to a broad set of public policies that seek to support key economic sectors and coordinate productive activity. READ MORE

Enlace al análisis del HR 5278 y resumen ejecutivo



Principio 1: Cualquier junta federal tiene que respetar las instituciones y procesos políticos de Puerto Rico.

El proyecto NO cumple con el principio 1. El HR 5278 le confiere a la Junta de Control Fiscal poderes que exceden los necesarios para ejecutar una función de monitoreo y supervisión fiscal. La Junta será una entidad del gobierno de Puerto Rico pagada con fondos públicos de Puerto Rico, pero no estará sujeta al control o la supervisión de funcionarios locales; podrá forzar la ejecución de recomendaciones que hayan sido rechazadas por el Gobernador o la Legislatura de P.R.; podrá prohibir la ejecución de ciertas leyes, reglamentos, órdenes o contratos; podrá requerir la ejecución de medidas de privatización y comercialización de actividades gubernamentales; y de manejo de los fondos de pensiones de los empleados públicos.

Principio 2: La decisión final sobre materias impositivas y de gasto público debe residir con los oficiales democráticamente electos de P.R. que deben actuar de manera transparente y rendir cuentas.

El proyecto NO cumple con el principio 2. Bajo el HR 5278, la Junta prácticamente toma control de las instituciones fiscales de Puerto Rico: queda facultada para desarrollar  el presupuesto del gobierno e imponer reducciones de gastos aún en detrimento de la prestación de algunos servicios públicos.

Principio 3: Los procesos para reestructurar la deuda deben tratar a las partes de forma justa y equitativa. Deben proveer un camino claro y viable para que se produzca un alivio significativo en el pago de la deuda. 

El proyecto NO cumple con el principio 3. El HR 5278 representa progreso sobre el proyecto anterior (HR 4900). Sin embargo, los procesos de reestructuración todavía son demasiado complicados y no proveen un camino viable que desemboque en alivio a la deuda. HR 5278 crea un proceso complejo de clasificación de acreedores; contempla un periodo muy corto de aplazamiento para los litigios; y crea una segunda capa de requisitos al nivel de la Junta de Control para que se pueda acceder a un proceso de reestructuración supervisado por la corte.

Principio 4: Ninguna clase de deuda debe ser excluida del proceso de reestructuración.

El proyecto SÍ cumple con el principio 4. HR 5278 incluye los Bonos de Obligación General (GO’s) y COFINA en la reestructuración, pero respeta la jerarquía de sus reclamos.

Principio 5: Se debe crear un Task Force congresional sobre crecimiento económico de Puerto Rico.

El proyecto cumple PARCIALMENTE con el principio 5. HR 5278 crea un Task Force de Crecimiento Económico. Sin embargo, no le asigna fondos y el Task Force tiene una vida muy corta. Asimismo, excluye entidades no-gubernamentales y de la sociedad civil del proceso de consulta.

Principio 6: Si el Congreso no puede actuar, debería autorizar expresamente que Puerto Rico legisle su propio marco para reestructurar la deuda. 

Este principio NO APLICA en el proyecto. Puerto Rico se encuentra en un limbo legal en cuanto a cómo reestructurar su deuda.

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