DP634 | The Marshall Plan: History's Most Successful Structural Adjustment Program

Publication Date

28/05/1992

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Abstract

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.