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Luxury international business: a critical review and agenda for research

Joanne Roberts (Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK)

Critical Perspectives on International Business

ISSN: 1742-2043

Article publication date: 6 June 2019

Issue publication date: 6 June 2019




Through a critical review of the impact of luxury international business, this study aims to contribute to an understanding of business activities that depend on an unequal distribution of income and wealth.


Drawing on a wide range of academic and practitioner literature, this study adopts a critical luxury studies approach to provide an assessment of the economic and social impact of luxury international business.


Luxury is an increasingly important sector of the economy, which contributes to the welfare of increasing numbers of people across the world. Alongside its dependence on an unequal distribution of income and wealth and the negative aspects to which this gives rise, luxury business generates significant benefits to the economy and society through promoting economic growth, innovation, cultural enrichment, improved quality of the built environment and environmentally sustainable business practices. Nevertheless, an appropriate level of regulation and taxation on the excesses of contemporary luxury consumption could improve the welfare of all. Hence, luxury international business warrants investigation by critical scholars who recognize the complexity of the benefits and dark sides arising from luxury.

Research limitations/implications

This study draws on an extensive review of academic and practitioner literature. However, primary research is required to investigate further the key issues identified.

Social implications

Through an exploration of the impact of the production and consumption of luxury, this study reveals how luxury businesses serving the super-rich can contribute to the welfare of society whilst also giving rise to negative outcomes.


By adopting a critical luxury studies approach, this study offers an original contribution to the field of international business and introduces avenues for future critical international business research.



Roberts, J. (2019), "Luxury international business: a critical review and agenda for research", Critical Perspectives on International Business, Vol. 15 No. 2/3, pp. 219-238.



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