Can Transnational Corporations Serve as Engines of Development

Vinod K. Aggarwal

Economia e Politica Industriale, 2002

The role of the transnational corporation (TNC) in promoting or impeding the development of countries is an issue that has been the subject of intense study in international political economy. From the late 1960s until the early 1980s, much was written about the origins, impact, and efforts to regulate TNCs (Vernon, 1971; Moran 1974; Biersteker 1978). Since the 1980s, however, the turn of many developing countries toward a policy of export oriented industrialization from import substitution industrialization led to a new literature on modes of attracting the TNC and the role of production networks in the global economy (Ernst and Ravenhill 1999). In this sense, the renewed focus of Sergio Vacca and Gianni Cozzi (2002) on how TNCs might be drivers of development is a welcome addition. I do have some concerns about their arguments, which often mix normative and empirical arguments in a less than optimal manner. I also found that the arguments while provocative, do not fully take into account the extensive literature on the subject.

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