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What is the “Washington Consensus? Did it fail?

 "Washington Consensus" was coined in 1989 by economist John Williamson of PIIE.

He was describing a list of policies that had gained support among Latin American policymakers in response to the macroeconomic turbulence and debt crisis of the early to mid-1980s. These policies also had the backing of experts at Washington's international institutions—especially the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, as well as the US Treasury—to help the recovery from the debt crisis.

After decades of turbulence in the global economy and countries' mixed successes at policy reforms, the phrase "Washington Consensus" raises red flags among some economists while providing enduring wisdom among others.

Williamson himself came to question some of the consensus precepts but argued that critics had distorted them for political purposes.

Douglas A. Irwin (PIIE) and Oliver Ward (PIIE)

September 8, 2021


Did the Washington Consensus Fail?

John Williamson (PIIE)

Outline of speech at the Center for Strategic & International Studies Washington, DC

© Peterson Institute for International Economics November 6, 2002


Today, freely floating exchange rates suit most large countries better than the late economists Richard Cooper, Robert Mundell, and John Williamson thought

Jeffrey Frankel, Harvard University, previously served as a member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers 21 April 2021


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