Argentina: Testing Dependency Theory

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Title: Argentina: Testing Dependency Theory
Alternative title: Argentiina: Riippuvuusteorian Testaus
Author: Bellomo, Octavio Augusto
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2022
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Globaalin politiikan ja viestinnän maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Global Politics and Communication
Magisterprogrammet i global politik och kommunikation
Specialisation: Global Political Economy
Global Political Economy
Global Political Economy
Abstract: This thesis is an investigation of the explanatory capacity of dependency theory in the context of the Argentine Republic from the start of the 20th Century to the COVID-19 pandemic. Explicitly, the research question is: to what extent, if any, can dependency theory explain the evolution of Argentine economic history? The core of the thesis is based on discussion concerning dependency theory as put forth by various scholars, especially dos Santos, Prebisch, and Tansey and Hyman. Argentina is a case study wherein dependency theory can be evaluated, as the country has had struggles developing and industrializing, and has utilized policy prescriptions encouraged by dependency theorists, such as import-substitution industrialization. Dependency theory is explained and analyzed using four tenets central to the theory as outlined by Tansey and Hyman. The theory’s explanatory capacity is tested/evaluated first quantitatively through empirical research, regressions, and a search for statistically significant correlations, then qualitatively through an analysis of Argentine economic history in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Empirical data were also utilized to supplement the qualitative analysis. Empirical findings demonstrated little evidence to support some dependency theory claims, such as negative impacts from conspicuous consumption, and showing meager negative correlations between dependency and economic development. The qualitative analysis suggested that dependency theory has some explanatory power for the reality and struggles of the Argentine economy in the earlier half of the 20th Century, but struggles to explain Argentina's reality in a more modern context. Overall, the Argentine experience does not reflect what dependency theory would expect. The growing importance of international capital, capital markets, and financialization has left dependency theory seemingly outdated. A narrow focus on the core-periphery dichotomy seems to hold the theory back from providing a functional explanation of the Argentine economy today. This thesis has also allowed for insight into the historical and contemporary flaws of the Argentine economy and its weak industrialization, including economic mismanagement, political strife, and a damaging pursuance of import-substitution industrialization.
Subject: Dependency theory

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