Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Lawrence Falkowski


Hegemonic stability theory been the focus of substantial scholarly attention in recent years. Hegomonic stability theory is a theory that attempt to explain changes in the degree to which the international political economy is "open" or "restricted" on the basis of the power relations between the major states in the world system. Specifically, the theory holds that markets will tend to be most open when one state is clearly predominant, particularly in terms of economic power, and conversely, that markets will tend to be restricted when there is no predominant power. From the end of World War II until the late 1960s or early 1970s, the United States was the hegemonic power in the world economy. The U.S. was particularly predominant in the period from 1945 through roughly 1960. Since the early 1960s, the U.S. has gradually lost position relative to that of other major economic powers. If the theory of hegemonic stability is valid, this should cause trade levels to decline as a percentage of aggregate economic activity. This dissertation presents a general examination of hegemonic stability theory. This includes discussion of different variants of the theory, as well as discussion of the internal logic of the theory. Hegemonic stability theory is tested statistically, utilizing the case of American hegemony in the post World War II period. Finally, the findings of the statistical test are discussed in terms of their implications for the international political economy of the coming decades.