First Advisor

Lee J. Haggerty

Term of Graduation

Spring 1997

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Income distribution -- Developing countries, Developing countries -- Economic conditions



Physical Description

1 online resource (54 pages)


This paper tests two different theoretical explanations of the causes of the unequal distribution of income in less developed countries using data from circa 1990. There are several reasons for examining this much-studied topic. First, as described in the previous research findings chapter below, there is no consensus in the literature regarding the relative effects of modernization and dependency variables on income inequality. Determining the independent effects of the two models is still an open ended question. Second, the availability of more recent data provides us with an opportunity to check the possibility that previous findings were partly due to the idiosyncratic nature of data that happened to be available circa 1970. Replication is its own justification in this regard. Finally, the rapid increase of economic globalization since 1970 raises the possibility that dependency effects (via more widespread and intensive foreign capital penetration) may actually have increased since previous data was collected.

Multiple regression analysis is used to test several different sets of independent variables derived from the two theoretical perspectives. Results demonstrate strong support for the effects of a core modernization model (the percent of labor force working in agriculture, sectoral dualism, secondary education enrollment rate, and population growth) and foreign investment dependence net of one another. Results also suggest the possibility that investment dependence effects have intensified while modernization effects have attenuated since circa 1970.


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