Neoliberalism and patterns of economic performance, 1980-2000

Joseph Nathan Cohen, Miguel Angel Centeno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Neoliberal discourse often produces the impression that the world has undergone a wholesale shift toward laissez-faire and that this shift has produced economic prosperity. This article examines national economic data to discern the degree to which (1) governments have in fact retreated from the market and (2) countries have enjoyed increasing economic prosperity over a period in which they have supposedly been liberalizing. The evidence is mixed on both counts. Although international capital mobility and trade liberalism appears to have grown over the past two decades, there is little evidence of a broad scaling back of governments. Over the same period, countries have not experienced any appreciable improvement in growth, cross-national equality, employment, or national debt loads, although there is some evidence of improved price stability near the end of the 1990s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-67
Number of pages36
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


  • Budget
  • Economy
  • Latin America
  • Neoliberalism
  • Spending
  • Structural adjustment
  • Trade
  • Transfers


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