New Horizons in International Business series
Edited by Gavin Boyd, Alan M. Rugman and Pier Carlo Padoan
Chapter 5: The regional dimension of multinational enterprises and antitrust policy
Alan M. Rugman and Alain Verbeke INTRODUCTION Rugman and Verbeke (2004), extending the work of Ohmae (1985), have argued that truly global multinational enterprises (MNEs) should be able to achieve a balanced dispersion of their sales across the three legs of the ‘triad’ of the European Union (EU), North America (NAFTA) and Asia. These are the home regions of most of the world’s largest ﬁrms in strongly internationalized industries. These regions are also characterized by extensive innovation, sophisticated demand and high purchasing power of buyers. Business cycles do not necessarily converge throughout the triad, thus leading to risk reduction for the MNEs operating globally (Rugman, 1976, 1979). To some extent, the three legs of the triad are also the result of public policy engineering, which has led to institutional arrangements, such as the European Union and the North-American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). A powerful indicator of triad/regional economic activity is the concentration of the world’s largest MNEs in the United States, EU and Japan. In 2000, of the world’s largest 500 MNEs, 430 were in these core triad regions. In 1996, the ﬁgure was 443; in 1991, it was 410 and back in 1981 it was 445. Over the last 20 years the trend has shown a decrease in the proportion of US MNEs, from 242 in 1981 to as few as 157 in 1991, but up to 162 in 1996 and 185 in 2000. The EU number is very consistent, being 141 for the old EEC members in 1981...
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