Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Katja Favretto

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Since the 1980s, the implementation of free-market policies, also known as neoliberalism, in Mexico has seemingly coincided with a sluggish economy and a profoundly unequal society. According to several authors, the beneficiaries of neoliberal policies in Mexico have been international capital, corporations, and Mexican elites. Not surprisingly, all three factions had a hand in enacting and enforcing neoliberalism in Mexico. Additionally, international financial institutions cooperated with the government and elites of Mexico to promote free-market reforms throughout the country. This paper will argue that the application of neoliberalism in Mexico by the previously mentioned groups and institutions led to economic hardship for millions of families. The evidence examined indicates that while the wealthiest sector of Mexico has significantly benefited from free-market reforms, the middle and lower classes have lost out, enduring worsening low socio-economic mobility levels, which have been consistently higher than before neoliberalism. The prolonged and persistent loss of living standards in Mexico has resulted in social upheaval across the country. The deterioration of social protection programs, migration, crime, and violence have deteriorated the quality of life for an overwhelming number of Mexicans. Millions of Mexicans affected by free-market policies have migrated in search of better conditions, particularly to the United States. There is also corroboration that neoliberalism prompted movements of resistance that ranged from violent guerrillas and self-defense groups to legally established organizations and protest movements. The backlash of the Mexican population against free-market policies is ongoing, yet the economic and political elites show no willingness to renounce their practice of neoliberalism. The fight to roll back low socio-economic mobility in Mexico is in progress.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.