This paper provides a temporal stochastic framework that is used to analyze economic transitions of countries in the world–system. As such, it provides a contribution to a general quantitative rendering of the world–systems perspective. State space modeling using Markov chains provides a powerful stochastic instrument for global economic modeling when structure is known but relational uncertainty is present as well as for examining temporal change of geographic phenomena. Two phenomena are examined: (1) country mobility among regional classes within the world–economy; and (2) the stability of the rate of country–level transitions. Results suggest that although a moderate amount of movement has taken place in the period 1960–1990, the overall structure of the world–economy has not changed significantly. Thus, although the developmental hypothesis that countries are upwardly mobile has merit, empirical results suggest that very little impact is observed in the world–system because countries moving upward in the world–economy region sequence are nearly balanced by countries moving down the sequence.