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Beyond the World Bank AgendaAn Institutional Approach to Development$
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Howard Stein

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226771670

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226771656.001.0001

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Economic Theory and Orthodox Reform

Economic Theory and Orthodox Reform

Critical Reflections on Structural Adjustment

Chapter:
(p.55) Chapter Three Economic Theory and Orthodox Reform
Source:
Beyond the World Bank Agenda
Author(s):

Howard Stein

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226771656.003.0003

Despite the increasing types of conditionality introduced by the World Bank and the IMF during the 1990s, the core program of adjustment with its trinity of stabilization, liberalization, and privatization remained intact. Moreover, the same problematic economic microfoundations, or theoretical propositions, that underlie adjustment continued to be present in many of the new strategies added to the World Bank agenda in the 1990s—a disconcerting fact given adjustment's poor performance and noted failures. This chapter explores the neoclassical economic roots of adjustment and includes a critical analysis of this strategy, focusing on errors generated by overreliance on the methodology and content of the economic theory embedded in structural adjustment policies. It is argued that the strict adherence to neoclassical economics methodology is largely to blame for the Bank's failure to question, adapt, or abandon policies despite the overwhelming evidence of downward economic trends among adjusting countries.

Keywords:   World Bank, structural adjustment, neoclassical economics, economic theory, stabilization, liberalization, privatization

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