Austerity: the New Normal
A Renewed Washington Consensus 2010-24
This working paper: (i) examines historical and projected government expenditure trends for 189 countries; (ii) reviews the latest IMF country reports for countries to identify the main channels used by governments to adjust expenditures; (iii) discusses the negative social impacts of austerity measures; (iv) presents the renewed Washington Consensus advised to governments that are left with limited budgets—and the alternative UN Consensus on Development for All; and (v) calls for urgent action by governments to identify fiscal space to accelerate development, human rights, a green recovery with jobs and inclusive growth, and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This publication was translated into Chinese by Jianjun Zhou and Zhong Yang and is available here.
About the Authors
Global Social Justice Program Director
Initiative for Policy Dialogue
Isabel Ortiz is director of the Global Social Justice Program at Joseph Stiglitz’s Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University, New York. Earlier she was director at the International Labor Organization (ILO Geneva, 2013-19) and at UNICEF (New York, 2009-12); senior official at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN New York, 2005-09) and at the Asian Development Bank (ADB Manila, 1995-2003), where she was a founding member of the ADB Poverty Reduction Unit. In 1993-95 she was a researcher at the Department of International Economics of the High-Level Council of Scientific Research (CSIC Madrid) and a lecturer at Madrid and Salamanca Universities in Spain. In 1992-93 she worked at the European Commission in Brussels and in 1991 at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC Buenos Aires). Isabel Ortiz has worked in more than 50 countries in all world regions, providing advisory services to governments and engaging in high level initiatives at the United Nations, G20, BRICS, African Union and UNASUR, among others. Additionally, she actively supports policy advocacy work of civil society organizations. She has a MSc and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, and has written more than 80 publications translated in several languages.
Social Policy and Economic Specialist
Matthew Cummins leads research and is an advisor on real-time monitoring, fiscal space and social budgeting issues, as well as on designing policies to protect children and poor households from the impacts of macroeconomic shocks. He has worked on social policy issues for more than ten years with the Inter-American Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, U.S. Peace Corps and the World Bank. He holds a MA in International Economics from Johns Hopkins SAIS and has published widely in international development books and journals.