In 1989, economist John Williamson coined the term “Washington Consensus” for a set of 10 market-oriented policies that Washington-based institutions prescribed for improving economic performance in “third world countries.” Centered around fiscal discipline, market-oriented domestic reforms, and openness to trade and investment, the Washington Consensus inspired the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to pursue a reform agenda that was resisted as aggressively as it was pursued.
Early on, the Washington Consensus was heavily criticized for failing to improve economic and social conditions, but a new symposium of papers published in the summer 2021 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP) reviews three decades of evidence that provides a different perspective.
On September 23, the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development program and Harvard University’s Center for International Development are co-hosting a virtual symposium to discuss the outcomes of four studies published in the JEP and the implications for future policymaking aimed at improving economic performance in the regions highlighted in the studies. At the symposium, panels of experts from academia, civil society, and other key stakeholders will:
- Provide an overview of their recent research;
- Discuss emerging evidence on the links between performance & policy adoption;
- Share examples from case studies on country experiences with policy reform;
- And identify lessons for policy reform, discuss areas for further research, and study the role of Washington Consensus policies in policy reform.
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