The House Committee on Natural Resources recently approved a bill with the purpose of solving the Puerto Rico fiscal crisis. It creates a federal oversight board (PROMESA), which will have the ability to re-structure debts and audit the Puerto Rican government.

This is not the first time such a board has been created. I know at least of the example of DC.

In the past, have these oversight boards helped the economy of the place they were managing?

  • 2
    I think these are usually set up when the situation is so dire that it'd be hard to make it any worse. So in that sense, they likely end up making things better--even if only slightly--simply because it couldn't have gotten any worse.
    – user1530
    May 25, 2016 at 22:20
  • @blip Well if that was the case why introduce a control board in the first place? If the only way to go is up why is intervention needed? May 27, 2016 at 14:19
  • Not doing anything would definitely make it worse. Consider these boards, at worse, triage. They may not heal the wound, but at least they have some band-aids to stop the bleeding.
    – user1530
    May 27, 2016 at 14:40
  • As the saying goes, "follow the money". In this case, it is the creditors of the big banks who loaned money to Puerto Rico who stand to lose the most. More specifically, it is the CEOs of those companies who stand to lose out personally and who just by coincidence happen to be good buddies with most of the high level administration and congressional people in DC. I guess if you want an answer, you need to specify "successful for who". I guarantee it will be and can be shown to be successful for the CEOs. For the people and Puerto Rico it probably depends on the definition of successful.
    – Dunk
    May 31, 2016 at 20:20
  • One big issue who that almost always there will be some people who benefit from one situation and others who benefit from another and a federal control board is going to have winners and losers. For example, Puerto Rican bondholders may benefit, while public employees may be worse off.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 25, 2017 at 21:00

1 Answer 1


The only two similar cases are the two you have already noted. The D.C. case is widely regarded as a success, but not because of improvement in the economy.

The purpose of both that oversight board for D.C. and Puerto Rico are to resolve the governments budgetary problems. Both governments had/have enormous debts far in excess of their ability to repay. Hopefully resolving the budgetary problems will also improve the economy, but even if it does not, it can and likely will, still be considered a success.

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