Depicting social behavior as a kind of exchange has deep historical roots. Although many social science disciplines have used exchange models, students of international relations have been slow to apply such models to their subject. Many topics of interest to international relations scholars could be usefully treated by way of social exchange theory. Such topics include resource allocation, power, burden-sharing, foreign aid, dependency, institutions, and bargaining. The potential contribution of the exchange perspective to understanding of these topics has yet to be realized.