NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Maria Enchautegui

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Working Papers

November 2005Why Don't More Puerto Rican Men Work? The Rich Uncle (Sam) Hypothesis
with Richard B. Freeman: w11751
Puerto Rico has an extraordinarily low employment rate for men. We document the low employment rate using Census of Population and labor force survey data and offer "the rich uncle (Sam) hypothesis" that the connection of the relatively poor economy of Puerto Rico to the wealthier US has created conditions that generate low employment. In support of the hypothesis, we show: 1) that GNP and GDP have diverged on the island, distorting the relationship between GDP and employment, due potentially to federal tax benefits to companies operating in Puerto Rico; 2) transfers to Puerto Rican families funded mainly by the federal government, which account for about 22 percent of personal income; 3) open borders to the U.S. that give men with high desire for work incentive to migrate to the US, and p...

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