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The Marshall Plan: History's Most Successful Structural Adjustment Program

  • DeLong, J. Bradford
  • Eichengreen, Barry

The post-World War II reconstruction of Western Europe was one of the greatest economic and foreign policy successes of this century. `Folk wisdom' assigns much of the credit to the Marshall Plan, which transferred some $13 billion of US aid to Europe between 1948 and 1951. We examine the economic effects of the Marshall Plan, and find that it was too small to have significantly accelerated recovery by financing private investment, speeding the repair of infrastructure or easing commodity bottlenecks. None the less, we conclude that the conditions attached to Marshall aid contributed significantly to Western Europe's rapid growth after World War II, by pushing Europe's `mixed economies' in a direction that left them with a mixture of more `market' and fewer controls.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt3b1108bj.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 1991
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt3b1108bj
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  1. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-88, December.
  2. Maier, Charles S., 1977. "The politics of productivity: foundations of American international economic policy after World War II," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(04), pages 607-633, September.
  3. Glyn, A. & Hughes, A. & Lipietz, A. & Singh, A., 1988. "The Rise And Fall Of The Golden Age," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 884, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  4. Casella, Alessandra & Eichengreen, Barry, 1991. "Halting Inflation in Italy and France After World War II," CEPR Discussion Papers 594, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Broadberry, Stephen N, 1991. "Why was Unemployment in Postwar Britain So Low," CEPR Discussion Papers 541, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Dumke, Rolf H, 1990. "Reassessing the Wirtschaftswunder: Reconstruction and Postwar Growth in West Germany in an International Context," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(4), pages 451-91, Special I.
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