The arc of neoliberalism

Miguel A. Centeno, Joseph N. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

232 Scopus citations


For three decades, neoliberalism dominated the global political economy. Defined as an explicit preference for private over public control, neoliberalism represented a dramatic break from postwar policies. This article examines the historical development of neoliberalism through three perspectives: as an economic policy, as an expression of political power, and as an ideational hegemony. We reject the notion of neoliberal inevitability and suggest how it came to dominate all other possible alternatives. The review emphasizes the critical importance of political preferences and influences as well as the central role ideas played in defining policy paradigms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-340
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Sociology
StatePublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Economic crisis
  • Economic policy
  • Global economy
  • Hegemony


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