The Washington Consensus: Assessing A “damaged Brand”

Nancy Birdsall, Augusto De La Torre and Felipe Valencia Caicedo

in The Oxford Handbook of Latin American Economics

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199571048
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

The Washington Consensus: Assessing A “damaged Brand”


This chapter examines the ‘Washington Consensus’ in Latin America, policies laid out by John Williamson in 1989. For its advocates, the Consensus reflected a doctrine of economic freedom that was best suited for the political democracies to which many Latin countries had returned after a long spell of military dictatorships. For its opponents, the Consensus was an unjust set of neoliberal policies, imposed on hapless countries by the Washington-based international financial institutions. Williamson's policies rode on a global wave that transformed the conventional wisdom in favor of free-market economics, which included the rise of neoclassical economics and the rational expectations revolution among academic macroeconomists.

Keywords: John Williamson; economic freedom; political democracies; Latin America; neoclassical economics; free-market economics

Article.  11111 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Public Economics

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