Is There a New Washington Consensus?

At the end of May, a star-studded World Bank commission on economic growth rejected much of the traditional framework for advising policy makers in developing countries. Rather than offering facile answers such as “just let markets work” or “just get governance right,” the commission rightly emphasizes that each country must devise its own mix of remedies.

CAMBRIDGE – Two and a half years ago, senior staff members of the World Bank approached the Nobel laureate Michael Spence to ask him to lead a high-powered commission on economic growth. The question at hand could not have been more important. The “Washington consensus” – the infamous list of do’s and don’ts for policymakers in developing countries – had largely dissipated. But what would replace it?