From Washington Consensus to BeST Consensus for world development

Keun Lee*, John A. Mathews

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


While the set of liberalising and fiscally conservative development precepts dubbed the 'Washington Consensus' are now discredited as a tool for development, there is as yet no widely adopted or accepted alternative other than references to the 'East Asian model'. In this paper, we distil the essence of the experience of East Asia-of Japan initially, then of Korea and Taiwan, and now of China-in a set of flexible precepts that we suggest underpin the policies and strategies pursued with success by these East Asian economies. In the spirit of proposing an alternative to the Washington Consensus, we suggest that these precepts-pragmatic and known to work-be dubbed the Beijing-Seoul-Tokyo Consensus (or BeST Consensus for development). The essence of this consensus is its focus on capability building, on dynamic transitions from one stage to the next, and on building an institutional platform to capture latecomer effects. We outline what this BeST Consensus might be and discuss why it is that its elements appear to work so well; and whether they can still be applied in the world of 21st-century conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-103
Number of pages18
JournalAsian-Pacific Economic Literature
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


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