The Center for International Studies has initiated a multi-year, multi-disciplinary effort to explore ways to boost sustainable economic growth in Puerto Rico.
The Puerto Rico Economy Project (PREP@MIT) kicked off with a two-day conference at MIT in February 2011, bringing together policy professionals from Puerto Rico with MIT scholars. Cosponsored with the Center for a New Economy in San Juan, the conference clarified Puerto Ricoís economic and social challenges, discussed the role of the U.S. government, and situated Puerto Ricoís future in the Caribbean Basin and Latin America. Several of the scholars from the island will be involved in PREP@MIT.
Since February, the project has developed a number of approaches to investigating optimal path for development. We expect to undertake this work in cooperation with CNE and other scholars, NGOs, and public officials in Puerto Rico. The activity of PREP@MIT will include in the first year two practicums, led by Professor Diane Davis in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and Professor Richard Locke, Professor of Political Science and Management. These will involve students exploring issues of significance to Puerto Rico and devising problem-solving ideas. For example,. Professor Locke will mobilize Sloan School graduate students in the Global Entrepreneurship Lab. Other explorations will involve senior faculty and graduate student researchers including Michael Piore (Political Science and Economics), Paul Osterman (Sloan School of Management), Amy Glasmeier (DUSP), John Tirman (CIS), and several others.
The work is also being done in partnership with MITís Community Innovators Lab, or CoLab, in DUSP, headed by Dayna Cunningham. CoLab will send students to work in Puerto Rico on carefully designed projects; in 2011-12, it will involve the practicum offered by Professor Davis.
The new director of PREP@MIT is Gustavo Setrini, who is finishing his Ph.D. in Political Science at MIT.
Expected outputs include policy papers and practical ideas for expanding economic activity in agriculture, manufacturing, health services, and other sectors.