New Challenges for International Business Research
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New Challenges for International Business Research

Back to the Future

John H. Dunning

In this final collection of his essays, John Dunning looks back on more than 40 years of research in international business (IB), whilst at the same time considering possibilities for the future. This book includes fifteen updated chapters, many of which have not been widely accessible to the IB community until now. It provides a fascinating insight into the evolution of Professor Dunning’s thinking on some of the most important issues in the contemporary global economy, from the role of institutions in development to the moral challenges of global capitalism. Including some personal reflections, this compelling collection provides a unique perspective on the intellectual contribution from one of the field’s greatest scholars.
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Chapter 2: If Hymer Were Writing Now with Christos N. Pitelis

John H. Dunning


2. If Hymer were writing now1 With Christos N. Pitelis 1. INTRODUCTION Stephen Hymer was born in 1934, and died in a car accident 40 years later. In his short life he made several seminal and lasting contributions to the theory of the multinational enterprise (MNE), foreign direct investment (FDI) and ‘multinational corporate capital’. Most particularly, he was one of the first economists to explore the relationship between the ‘microcosm’ of the territorial expansion of firms, and its consequences for international development and MNE–host country relationships. Hymer first articulated his views on the determinants of FDI in his doctoral thesis, and later, together with his analysis of some of its characteristics and effects, in around 40 articles in leading economics and political economy journals. Of these, perhaps the most influential and frequently cited have been his thesis, completed at MIT in 1960 and eventually published in 1976; an article he wrote in French in 1968; a 1970 American Economic Review (AER) article; and another 1970 contribution to a book collection edited by J.N. Bhagwati on MNEs and ‘uneven development’, where he summarised and extended some of his views on the impact of FDI on the economic and social goals of developing countries (Hymer, 1960, 1976, 1968, 1970a, b). The aim of this chapter is to consider whether and how Hymer’s views on both the determinants and consequences of MNE activity might have changed if he were writing now – in the early years of the 21st century. In his absence,...

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