Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-11-2019


Sneed, Natalie. Celtic Tiger Ireland as a Case Study in the Practical Application of Neoliberal Economic Policy. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. May 2019.


Copyright Natalie Sneed 2019.


The Celtic Tiger economic boom, which occurred in Ireland from approximately 1987 to 2009 has generally been considered one of the most remarkable economic turnarounds in any country in the modern era. My purpose in this project was to identify the primary causes and effects of such rapid and dramatic economic growth and development to determine whether it is sensible for other countries emerging from colonial rule to seek to emulate the Irish economic model. Through a review of the economic literature on the Irish economy in the last three decades, I identify Ireland’s implementation of a neoliberal economic policy regime as the catalyst for the Celtic Tiger and illustrate that the boom was simply a manifestation through foreign direct investment of growth in the U.S. high-tech sector. This neoliberal model created the appearance of unprecedented growth while having little effect on the overall economic health of the country. It also deepened existing weaknesses in the Irish economy as well as creating new vulnerabilities. As such, I conclude that a purely neoliberal economic model such as the one that underlay the Celtic Tiger is unsustainable in practice and inherently creates unnecessary economic vulnerabilities.