Handbook of the International Political Economy of the Corporation
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of the Corporation

Edited by Andreas Nölke and Christian May

Over the past few decades, corporations have been neglected in studies of international political economy (IPE). Seeking to demystify them, what they are, how they behave and their goals and constraints, this Handbook introduces the corporation as a unit of analysis for students of IPE. Providing critical discussion of their global and domestic power, and highlighting the ways in which corporations interact with each other and with their socio-political environment, this Handbook presents a thorough and up-to-date overview of the main debates around the role of corporations in the global political economy.
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Chapter 3: Interlocking directorates and corporate networks

J.P. Sapinski and William K. Carroll

Abstract

This chapter provides an introduction to the literature on interlocking directorates and corporate networks. It first traces the historical roots of the field back to the early twentieth century, when researchers on both sides of the Atlantic started expressing concern about the threat to democratic process posed by the emergent corporate form, the potential for collusion allowed by the growing practice of interlocking directorate, and the general concentration of power in the hands of large firms and banks. It then outlines the major theoretical approaches employed, that focus on the corporate network as a set of both interorganizational and interindividual relationships. Third, it summarizes the main findings on the cohesiveness of the corporate community, the hegemonic position of banks, and historical changes and longitudinal dynamics of the network. Finally, it discusses the most recent debates on globalization, the emergence of a European corporate network, and the decline and recomposition of the corporate community.

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