First Advisor

Martin Zwick

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science


Systems Science




International economic relations, Dependency



Physical Description

4, xiii, 351 leaves: ill. (some col.) 28 cm.


There are two leading perspectives on trade and economic development: the classical view based on the ideas of free trade and comparative advantage, which regards the international division of labor through free trade as supporting economic development; and the dependency theory view regards the international division of labor as an obstacle to the economic development of the now underdeveloped countries. The purpose of this study is to investigate hypotheses advanced by dependency theory, and, more particularly, by Galtung's Structural Theory of Imperialism. According to Galtung's theory, the world is divided into center and periphery countries, themselves divided into center and periphery sectors. The distinction between center and periphery is based on differences among nations in trade partner concentration, export commodity concentration, vertical trade, and quality of life. A periphery country is said to have most of its trade with one center country, while a center country IS free to trade with many partners. A periphery country tends to export a small number of primary products, while a center country has a greater diversity of exports, which are principally manufactured goods. These factors reflect a dependence of the periphery on the center and produce a gap in the quality of life between the two. The synchronic properties of the center-periphery relationship are tested for 127 countries for the years 1962, 1970, and 1980 with bivariate correlation calculations among ten variables: 1- Trade Partner Concentration (EPC), 2- Total Trade Linkages (TTL), 3- Import Partner Concentration (IPC), 4- Export Commodity Concentration (ECC), 5- Import Commodity Concentration (ICC), 6- Vertical Trade (VT), 7- Physical Quality of Life Index (PQLI), 8- Percent share of GOP in Agriculture (AGR/GDP), 9- GNP per capita (GNP), and 10- Export Dependency (ED). The diachronic properties of the world system at the regional and global levels are investigated by: 1- developing export trade hierarchies to identify center and associated periphery countries; 2- comparing regional and global averages for the national variables; 3- conducting decomposition analysis of export/import activity to assess diversities within and among regions; and 4- calculating system-wide variables, Global Polarization (GP) and Global Concentration (GC), based also on import/export data. At the national level, all hypothesized relationships among the ten variables are confirmed (are statistically significant at the .05 level), except for all relationships involving ICC and some relationships involving ED. The ICC results support the contention of Michaely that import and export commodity concentrations are positively correlated, in contradiction to assertions made by Leontief. All correlations between TPC, ECC, VT, and POLl agree with the propositions of dependency theory. At the regional level, the study reveals the continued existence of differences between the industrialized region and the other regions of the world, despite improvements for some regions in some variables (e.g., EPC, VT, and POLl). Regions are more homogeneous with respect to member countries than the world is with respect to regions. At the global level five major hierarchies (United States, United Kingdom, France, West Germany, and Soviet Union) are identified. From 1962 to 1980, the United States' hierarchy grew, mostly at the expense of that of the United Kingdom. Japan's hierarchy, nonexistent in 1962, emerged strongly by 1980. The systemic variables, GP and GC showed moderate to high, but constant, levels. No clear trend is apparent over this study period for the world system as a whole. While global averages and averages for the non-industrialized regions show changes in many variables in the direction of reduced world system differentiation, the systemic variables and the results of the decomposition analysis show constancy over time. However, an increased differentiation is suggested by GNP I capita data. In summary, although systemic changes over time are complex and individual countries may show ascent or decline, the general pattern of differentiation between center and periphery, as proposed by Galtung and others, holds true for the post World War II period.


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