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


  • J. Bradford De Long
  • Barry Eichengreen


The post-World War II reconstruction of Western Europe was one of the greatest economic policy and foreign policy successes of this century. "Folk wisdom" assigns a major role in successful reconstruction to the Marshall Plan: the program that transferred some $13 billion to Europe in the years 1948-51. We examine the economic effects of the Marshall Plan, and find that it was not large enough to have significantly accelerated recovery by financing investment, aiding the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, or easing commodity bottlenecks. We argue, however, that the Marshall Plan did play a major role in setting the stage for post-World War II Western Europe's rapid growth. The conditions attached to Marshall Plan aid pushed European political economy in a direction that left its post World War II "mixed economies" with more "market" and less "controls" in the mix.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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  • J. Bradford De Long & Barry Eichengreen, 1993. "The Marshall Plan: History's Most Successful Structural Adjustment Programme," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _109, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:calbec:_109

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    2. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kathryn M.E. Dominguez, 1993. "The Role of International Organizations in the Bretton Woods System," NBER Chapters,in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 357-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Claessens, Stijn & Oks, Daniel & van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1993. "Interest rates, growth, and external debt : the macroeconomic impact of Mexico's Brady deal," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1147, The World Bank.
    3. Nick Hanley & Les Oxley & David Greasley & Eoin McLaughlin & Matthias Blum, 2016. "Empirical Testing of Genuine Savings as an Indicator of Weak Sustainability: A Three-Country Analysis of Long-Run Trends," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 63(2), pages 313-338, February.
    4. Gregori Galofré-Vilà & Martin McKee & Christopher M. Meissner & David Stuckler, 2016. "The Economic Consequences of the 1953 London Debt Agreement," NBER Working Papers 22557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Henry, Peter B. & Arslanalp, Serkan, 2003. "Helping the Poor to Help Themselves: Debt Relief or Aid?," Research Papers 1838, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    6. J. Bradford De Long, "undated". "Productivity and Machinery Investment: A Long Run Look 1870-1980," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _118, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
    7. Barry Eichengreen., 1992. "Three Perspectives on the Bretton Woods System," Economics Working Papers 92-191, University of California at Berkeley.
    8. Michael D. Bordo & David C. Wheelock, 2006. "When do stock market booms occur? the macroeconomic and policy environments of 20th century booms," Working Papers 2006-051, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    9. Greta Marianna & Lewandowski Krzysztof, 2015. "The Impact Of The Global Financial And Economic Crisis Convergence Process In OECD Countries," Comparative Economic Research, De Gruyter Open, vol. 18(1), pages 81-96, March.
    10. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 1992. "Macroeconomic policy and long-run growth," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 5-29.
    11. Knack, Stephen & Rahman, Aminur, 2007. "Donor fragmentation and bureaucratic quality in aid recipients," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 176-197, May.
    12. Robert B. Barsky & J. Bradford De Long, 1993. "Why Does the Stock Market Fluctuate?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 291-311.
    13. Crafts, Nicholas & Toniolo, Gianni, 2008. "European Economic Growth, 1950-2005: An Overview," CEPR Discussion Papers 6863, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Wright, Brian D., 2012. "Grand missions of agricultural innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(10), pages 1716-1728.
    15. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Pintea, Mihaela I., 2009. "A quantitative exploration of the Golden Age of European growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1437-1450, July.
    16. Knack, Stephen, 2013. "Aid and donor trust in recipient country systems," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 316-329.
    17. Arslanalp, Serkan & Henry, Peter B., 2003. "The World's Poorest Countries: Debt Relief or Aid?," Research Papers 1809, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    18. Dani Rodrik, 1993. "Trade and Industrial Policy Reform in Developing Countries: A Review of Recent Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Jeffrey B. Nugent & Makoto Yano, 1999. "Aid, Nontraded Goods, and the Transfer Paradox in Small Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 431-449, June.
    20. Matthias Blum & Eoin McLaughlin & Nick Hanley, 2014. "Accounting for Sustainable Development over the Long-Run:Lessons from Germany," Discussion Papers in Environment and Development Economics 2014-10, University of St. Andrews, School of Geography and Sustainable Development.
    21. Alesina, Alberto, 1992. "Political models of macroeconomic policy and fiscal reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 970, The World Bank.
    22. Crafts, Nicholas & O’Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Twentieth Century Growth*This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement no. 249546.," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 263-346 Elsevier.
    23. Rosés, Joan R. & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2008. "Prosperity and depression in the European economy and during interwar years (1913-1950) : an introduction," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp08-10, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.

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    JEL classification:

    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration


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