Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Greg Love

Second Advisor

Oliver Dinius

Third Advisor

Lauren Ferry

Relational Format



Over the past two decades, Chinese involvement in the developing world has increased dramatically, raising concerns over the intentions behind the provision of development packages. Critics have accused China of a practice known as debt-trap diplomacy, a method of ensnaring less developed nations by providing more loans than those nations have the ability to feasibly pay back. While China denies that their loan and investment packages are provided with any ulterior motive, the influence held by an investor like China has the potential to impact these partner countries for decades to come. In light of the scope of China’s role in the developing world, this project focuses on two case studies in order to dive deeper into the potential influence generated by Chinese investment. The case studies are Colombia and Ecuador, each of which allows a glimpse into Chinese involvement in developing economies in Latin America. Further, each proves an example as to how such intense investment, such as large infrastructure loans in Ecuador or newly heavy involvement in the Colombian oil sector, affects the nations that receive it. Within each country, this paper delves into projects and development driven by Chinese investment, showcases the level of investment in each country, and analyzes the influence China stands to gain through its investments. To understand this influence, this paper draws inspiration from the CIA’s Conceptual Framework for Analysis of Influence, which looks at the domain, scope, and cost of influencing another state. This general framework is used to analyze both present outcomes and future potentials. Overall, this paper finds that Chinese investment in the case studies does act as a tool by which China can further its policy goals in the region, but each case presents limitations of that tool.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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