The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Washington Consensus

  • John Williamson
Reference work entry


The original purpose of the term ‘Washington Consensus’ was to distinguish between a number of policies that remain the subject of partisan controversy and a group of policies that were thought to be consensual in the post-1989 world. After its creation in 1989 the term acquired at least two more meanings. Some used it to describe the policies of the IMF and World Bank, which came to embrace not only institutional reform and a concern with governance but also the two-corners solution for exchange rates and capital account convertibility. Others used the term as a synonym for laissez-faire.


Balance of payments Capital account liberalization Consensual policies Corruption Demographic transition Deregulation Development economics East Asia Financial liberalization Fiscal discipline Foreign direct investment Globalization Governance Import-substituting industrialization Industrial policy Inflation Informal economy Institutions Intermediate exchange-rate regime International Monetary Fund Laissez- faire Mont Pèlerin Society Neoliberalism Partisan policies Privatization Property rights Public expenditure Redistribution of income Tax reform Trade liberalization Two-corners solution Washington Consensus World Bank 

JEL Classification

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  1. Burki, J., and G.E. Perry. 1998. Beyond the Washington consensus: Institutions matter. Washington, DC: World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Kuczynski, P.-P., and J. Williamson. 2003. After the Washington consensus: Restarting growth and reform in Latin America. Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics.Google Scholar
  3. Naím, M. 1994. Latin America: The second stage of reform. Journal of Democracy 5: 32–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Stiglitz, J.E. 2006. Making globalization work. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  5. Williamson, J. 1990. What Washington means by policy reform. In Latin American adjustment: How much has happened? ed. J. Williamson. Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Williamson
    • 1
  1. 1.