Business history has long been recognized as providing an important dimension to international-business (IB) studies. Much of this historical work has focused on mapping historical growth patterns of multinational enterprises (MNEs) but there is also a growing literature on the long-term impact of MNE investment on host economies, and this paper reviews this research. The focus is primarily on developing-country host economies, and more broadly on the global distribution of wealth and poverty. The article suggests three major arguments. First, it is necessary to take a long-time horizon when assessing impact on host economies. Second, it is necessary to incorporate societal and cultural impacts alongside more traditional measures of economic impact. Third, there is weak historical evidence that MNE’s have had a substantial positive impact over the long run on the development of host developing economies. A hypothesis is suggested that, given adequate domestic growth-supporting institutions and human-capital development, developing countries achieve more sustained development from excluding foreign-owned MNEs rather than hosting them.
This paper has been greatly improved by the comments of Jean J. Boddewyn, Bruce Kogut, and Mira Wilkins on earlier renditions.
Jones, G. (2014), "Business History and the Impact of MNEs on Host Economies", Multidisciplinary Insights from New AIB Fellows (Research in Global Strategic Management, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 177-198. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1064-485720140000016007Download as .RIS
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