Government Honors Thesis: Robert Belanger

Title: An Empirical Investigation of the Washington Consensus in the Context of Institutions

Author: Robert Belanger


The Washington Consensus was a widely promoted policy set during the 1980s and 1990s for developing countries. The “consensus” of Western economists was to integrate neoliberal policies into an economy to produce economic growth. Rodrik argues that this policy was never likely to be successful because the institutional arrangement that the Washington Consensus requires is unlikely to mesh with the institutional context of most economies. Further, he argues that five types of institutions are necessary to support a market economy. My results indicated that these institutions are indeed associated with positive economic growth. My results also indicate that the Washington Consensus is broadly associated positively with economic growth, in contrast to Rodrik’s theory. This suggests that the institutional arrangement implied by the Washington Consensus is much more flexible than Rodrik gives credit for.