Journal Article

What Should the World Bank Think about the Washington Consensus?

John Williamson

in The World Bank Research Observer

Published on behalf of World Bank

Volume 15, issue 2, pages 251-264
Published in print August 2000 | ISSN: 0257-3032
Published online August 2000 | e-ISSN: 1564-6971 | DOI:
What Should the World Bank Think about the Washington Consensus?

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  • Development Planning and Policy


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The phrase “Washington Consensus” has become a familiar term in development policy circles in recent years, but it is now used in several different senses, causing a great deal of confusion. In this article the author distinguishes between his original meaning as a summary of the lowest common denominator of policy advice addressed by the Washington-based institutions (including the World Bank) and subsequent use of the term to signify neoliberal or market-fundamentalist policies. He argues that the latter policies could not be expected to provide an effective framework for combating poverty but that the original advice is still broadly valid. The article discusses alternative ways of addressing the confusion. It argues that any policy manifesto designed to eliminate poverty needs to go beyond the original version but concludes by cautioning that no consensus on a wider agenda currently exists.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Development Planning and Policy

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