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A retrospective on: Infrastructure or foreign direct investment?

International Business and Sustainable Development

ISBN: 978-1-78190-989-8, eISBN: 978-1-78190-990-4

Publication date: 4 January 2014



This chapter revisits the paper by Yamin and Sinkovics (2009) on the paradoxical relationship between MNE current strategies and economic development. There is evidence that positive developmental impacts of FDI flows are conditional on high levels of human capital and thus on the existence of ‘good’ infrastructure in recipient countries.


The chapter makes a conceptual contribution and critically evaluates the key points made in the Yamin and Sinkovics (2009) paper.


The build-up of infrastructure and enhancement of domestic capabilities are important underpinnings of sustainable development. ‘Good’ infrastructure, especially basic social infrastructure, is the rock on which otherwise marginalised individuals, groups and country governments can build capabilities.

Research implications

The chapter draws attention to the ‘prisoner dilemma’ nature of the relationship between MNEs and host governments. Dominant MNE strategies in LDCs create a low payoff for both parties. To proceed towards mutually beneficial outcomes in the MNE–LDC relationship, credible and sustained co-operation between the parties are necessary. Research in the area of mutual value creation has only just emerged in the domain of IB.

Practical implications

Progressing towards ‘sustainability’ requires that MNE managers are advised to develop a global capability in ‘social embeddedness’. LDCs have great potential of becoming strategic markets and important sites for new product and service development. To pursue these opportunities requires credible and sustained commitment to mutual value creation.


This chapter shows that the relationship between MNE strategies and economic development is a contested one. The paper by Yamin and Sinkovics (2009) was one of the first in the domain of IB to suggest that developmental impacts of FDI are contingent on the existence of good infrastructure in recipient countries.




This chapter has built upon the paper previously published in a journal by Yamin, M., & Sinkovics, R. R. (2009). Infrastructure or foreign direct investment? An examination of the implications of MNE strategy for economic development. Journal of World Business, 44(2), 144–157, Copyright Elsevier 2009. It is reprinted here with full permission from Elsevier.


Yamin, M. and Sinkovics, R.R. (2014), "A retrospective on: Infrastructure or foreign direct investment?", International Business and Sustainable Development (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 231-247.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013 by Mo Yamin, Rudolf R. Sinkovics