Multinational Corporations and Foreign Direct Investment: Avoiding Simplicity, Embracing Complexity / Edition 1

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Overview

Foreign direct investment (FDI) and multinational corporations (MNCs)—for better and worse—play a large and growing role in shaping our world. The integrating thesis of this book is the inevitability of heterogeneity in FDI and MNCs and, accordingly, the imperative of disaggregation. Large companies doing business on a global basis increasingly dominate the production and marketing of the world's goods and services. The importance of these companies continues to grow while the debate about their nature and effects remains mired in a long-standing stalemate couched in strong black and white terms. Stephen D. Cohen seeks to reconcile this impasse by analyzing multinational corporations and foreign direct investment in an eclectic, nuanced manner. The core thesis is that an accurate understanding of the nature and impact of these phenomena comes from acknowledging the dominance of heterogeneity, perceptions, and ambiguity and the paucity of universal truths. This approach should contribute significantly to both a better academic understanding and a more productive policy debate of an increasingly important element of the world economy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Professor Cohen has written a masterly and exceptionally well balanced review of recent scholarly thinking on the role of multinational corporations in our contemporary global economy. I particularly liked his eschewing of any easy generalizations about their merits and demerits; and his recognition that these are likely to vary according to the motives for and types of MNC activity, and to the policies pursued by both national governments and supranational agencies. Altogether this is an eminently readable, yet intellectually satisfying volume. I warmly commend it both to students and teachers of international political economy and international business, and to all those interested in the economic and social challenges of globalization, and one of its chief architects viz. the MNC."—John H.Dunning, University of Reading (UK) and Rutgers University

"Stephen Cohen has produced a very comprehensive, balanced and fair view of the Multinational Corporation and FDI. He presents an intelligent, non-judgmental and honest summary of both sides of some very complex arguments and assumes that readers are intelligent enough to draw their own conclusions. He approaches questions about the MNC and FDI from the vantage points of both theory and practice and is always careful to ground his arguments directly in the appropriate political-economic context. This is a valuable addition to the literature on the multinational firm." —Stephen J. Kobrin, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

"Stephen D. Cohen's Multinational Corporations and Foreign Direct Investment accomplishes exactly what it aims to do—avoid simplicity, and embrace complexity. Carefully nuanced chapters take both beginners and advanced practitioners through the spectrum of controversial issues about the most powerful international companies in the world."—Theodore H. Moran, Marcus Wallenberg Professor of International Business and Finance, Georgetown University

"Stressing the complexity, diversity and heterogeneity of FDI-related issues, this book carries a simple, but most appropriate message: Qualify and disaggregate, don't generalize! Those in the pro and con camps get another chance to check their priors. Those between the frontlines will find sufficient reason to remain where they are. And newcomers in the field will benefit from the balanced account of what we (don't) know about FDI to decide where in the vast middle ground to position themselves."—Peter Nunnenkamp, The Kiel Institute for the World Economy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195179361
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/3/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen D. Cohen is a Professor in the School of International Service at American University specializing in international economic relations.

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Table of Contents


Abbreviations     ix
Introduction     3
Fundamentals
A Better Approach to Understanding Foreign Direct Investment and Multinational Corporations     11
Defining the Subject: Subtleties and Ambiguities     27
From Obscurity to International Economic Powerhouse: The Evolution of Multinational Corporations     41
Heterogeneity: The Many Kinds of Foreign Direct Investment and Multinational Corporations and Their Disparate Effects     62
Perceptions and Economic Ideologies     93
The Strategy of Multinationals
Why Companies Invest Overseas     117
Where Multinational Corporations Invest and Don't Invest and Why     148
Impact on the International Order
Effects of Foreign Direct Investment on Less Developed Countries: Vagaries, Variables, Negatives, and Positives     179
Why and How Multinational Corporations Have Altered International Trade     205
Multinational Corporations versus the Nation-State: Has Sovereignty Been Outsourced?     233
The International Regulation of Multinational Corporations: Why There Is No Multilateral Foreign Direct Investment Regime     252
The Case for Foreign Direct Investment and Multinational Corporations     283
The Case against Foreign Direct Investment and Multinational Corporations     308
An AgnosticConclusion: "It Depends"     332
Recommendations
An Agenda for Future Action     355
Index     365
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