The OECD and phases in the international political economy, 1961-2011

Volume: 18 Number: 5 Pages: 552--569

In 2011, the OECD turned fifty. To provide a broad foundation for further thinking on this organization, we analyse its evolution over half a century from two perspectives: phases in the international political economy and the literature on IPE. By so doing, we uncover two paradoxes. Firstly, we find that the organization's evolution closely mirrored major phases in the post-war international political economy until recently. However, the OECD's long-term dependence on the West has now become an obstacle to its efforts to adapt to the latest phase, characterised by the rise of non-Western powers. Secondly, we show that, during the OECD's “golden age”, scholars paid relatively little attention to the organization but, from the 2000s, as the organization faced an unprecedented challenge of its potential economic decline, IPE literature on the organization blossomed.


Review of International Political Economy




Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales
University of Cantabria
39005 Cantabria



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