Oligopolistic competition and foreign direct investment

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Oligopolistic competition and foreign direct investment

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Title: Oligopolistic competition and foreign direct investment
(Re) Integrating the strategic management perspective in the theory of multinational corporations
Author: Hoenen, Anne Kristin; Hansen, Michael W.
Abstract: The contemporary literature on foreign direct investment (FDI) has to some extent ’forgotten’ a key insight of the early FDI literature, namely that FDI to a large extent is driven by strategic interaction of firms in oligopolistic industries. Instead the FDI literature has focused, at first on FDI as a way of generating efficiency in cross border transactions, and later on FDI as a way to effectively leverage and build capabilities across borders. These efficiency and capabilities perspectives on FDI may have been adequate in a situation where global competition still was in its infancy. However, in recent years, we have seen the emergence of truly global oligopolies, e.g. in electronics, aerospace, aviation, software, steel, automotive, construction, brewing, etc. These oligopolistic industries have been consolidated through massive waves of cross border M&As in the second half of the 90s and from 2003-2007. We argue that in such industries it is not adequate to analyze FDI only in terms of efficiency or resource leverage; FDI must also be understood in terms of its contribution to the global strategic positioning of the investing firm. The paper seeks to re-discover’ the oligopolistic competition perspective, drawing on the early insights of the Hymer-Kindleberger-Caves tradition as well as on the recent Strategic Management literature, but bringing these into the context of globalization. It is argued that global strategic interaction in oligopolistic industries is manifest in well known FDI phenomena such as follow-the-leader, client follower, and first-mover. While the paper attempts no formal testing, evidence indicative of oligopolistic competition motivated FDI is presented, e.g. from the recent cross border M&A waves and from the recent surge of FDI in emerging markets.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/7956
Date: 2009-12-01

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