Date of Award

Spring 1957

Document Type



Business, Accounting & Economics

First Advisor

J. J. Mackin


Puerto Rico today is at a crucial point in its history, It is at the crossroads, where with proper planning it can advance on the road toward economic independence. On the other hand, it can lose even the progress it has already attained and return to complete economic dependence. Obviously, economic independence is desirable both to Puerto Rico as well as to the United States. Economic independence will enable Puerto Rico to enjoy all the privileges of a sound economy and as a result the United States will have one leas mouth to feed. Economic dependence is undesirable to both; the United States is compelled to sacrifice its own interests for the sake of helping Puerto Rico and such help will never be an adequate substitute for economic soundness.

The key to economic independence does not lie exclusively in the field of minimum wage policy yet a sound minimum wage policy is necessary for the achievement of this goal. Puerto Rican minimum wages are determined by what is called a flexible system. This means that in Puerto Rico the minimum wages are set to accomodate the needs of each particular industry. Unlike the United States, no flat rate is imposed upon the whole of the economy.

This flexible system has been severely criticized since its establishment. Up to now it has survived such criticism, However, it is necessary that certain doubts, cast upon the flexible system by this criticism, be cleared up.

The purpose of this work is to study and ascertain the basis for a reasonable minimum wage policy in Puerto Rico, To achieve this objective certain problems must be considered. 1. the economic basis for the Puerto Rican wage level, 2. the difference between Puerto Rican and mainland wages, 3. the effects of minimum wage rates in Puerto Rico and 4. the need for a flexible system of wage determination in Puerto Rico.