Dependency Theory

James L Mahoney, Diana Rodriguez-Franco

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article focuses on dependency theory and its influence on scholarly work in the field of international development. After tracing the roots of dependency theory, the article considers its relationship to the international economy, multinational capital, the local bourgeoisie, and the state. It then discusses dependency theory as a set of general concepts and orientations for formulating theories and explanations, as well as a set of directly testable and falsifiable hypotheses. It also emphasizes the utility of dependency theory for explaining the historical trajectories of development in Latin America, sustained robust economic growth in South Korea and Taiwan, globalization, and recent strong growth in China and some of its raw material suppliers. The article shows that dependency theory has mixed results as a testable theory but has been quite successful when used as a theoretical framework.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Politics of Development
EditorsCarol Lancaster, Nicolas van de Walle
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199845156
StatePublished - 2016


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