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Transnational Politics. MNCs: market-based transnationalism. Today. MNCs: The ‘ugly’? The role of MNCs in development and policy making What can the study of NGOs and TANs (Keck/Sikkink) contribute to our understanding of MNCs? Readings:

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Transnational politics

Transnational Politics

MNCs: market-based transnationalism


  • MNCs: The ‘ugly’?

    • The role of MNCs in development and policy making

  • What can the study of NGOs and TANs (Keck/Sikkink) contribute to our understanding of MNCs?

  • Readings:

    • From the bottom-up: Dahan, Doh, Guay: The Role of Multinational Corporations in transnational institution building’

    • From the top-down: David Collier, author of ‘The Bottom Billion’; How does economic development occur?;

  • Why talk about mncs
    Why talk about MNCs?

    • MNCs and power

    • MNCs and development

    • MNCs and human rights

    • Def.: MNCs are enterprises with commercial operations in more than one country.

      • 1969: about 7,000 MNCs;

      • 2005: 63,312 MNCs with 821,818 foreign affiliates.

        • ILO information on MNCs

    Market authority
    Market authority

    • In 1996, 405 out of 500 largest MNCswere headquartered in the Northern hemisphere: US (162), Japan (126), France (42), Germany (41), and Great Britain (34).

    • Of the 100 largest economies: 51 are MNCs and 49 are states.

    Mncs agents of social change
    MNCs: agents of social change?

    • Key argument: MNCs create policy networks in order to shape their regulatory and social environments. MNCs do not just adjust and adapt to their environment, but actively shape it.

      • Limits of the existing literature (p. 1547)

        • Looks at the national level only (not beyond the nation state).

        • Looks at MNC-state relations only (not at other interactions).

        • Looks at isolated MNCs only (not networked action).

        • Looks at material (hard) power only (not the realm of ideas and norms).

    Four sections
    Four sections

    • First section: IB and IM literature (p. 1573)

      • Traditional view of MNCs

    • Second section: A policy-network perspective (p. 1578)

      • Policy communities; epistemic communities; issue networks

    • Third section: Applying the model (p. 1585)

      • Policy communities: Shaping policies

      • Epistemic communities: Producing knowledge

      • Issue networks: Building coalitions

    • Fourth section: Contributions, limitations, future research (p. 1592)

    1 limits of the ib literature
    1. Limits of the IB literature

    MNCs face two types of pressures:

    • Globalization exposes MNCs to a wide range of homogenizing pressures. Accelerated diffusion of ideas and norms. >> isomorphism (p. 1575)

    • MNCs have to adapt to domestic laws and adopt local practices.

    • However: The literature has ignored MNCs’ capabilities to shape their domestic and transnational environment.

    Mnc and their institutional environment
    MNC and their institutional environment

    Policy convergence across nations may be desirable in order to standardize operations. .. Isomorphic pressures. (p. 1577)

    Coercive/imposition: law and other rules externally imposed

    Mimetic/harmonization: uncertainty leading to imitation

    Normative/diffusion: socialization/learning/internalization

    2 developing a policy network perspective
    2. Developing a policy network perspective

    Definition, p. 1578:

    A policy network is “a self-organizing group that coordinates a growing number of public (decision-makers) and private (interest groups) actors for the purpose of formulating and implementing public policies.”

    Categories of policy networks
    Categories of policy networks

    Table 1, p. 1580

    • Policy community: restricted, stable membership

    • Issue network: loose coalitions. Issue-oriented

    • Epistemic community: focus on knowledge

    When do policy networks matter
    When do policy networks matter?

    Determinants of success, p. 1581:

    • Network structure (density and type, p. 1581)

    • Members’ characteristics (type and position in the network)

    • Strategies (resource exchange and discourse/framing, p. 1582/3)

    • Institutional characteristics of the policy area (forum shopping)

      Compare to Keck and Sikkink, p. 25-9): Issue and actor characteristics (sender and target)

    3 application mncs in policy networks
    3. Application: MNCs in policy networks

    • MNCs in policy communities (p. 1585)

      • Focus on access and resource exchange

    • MNCs in epistemic communities

      • Climate change; focus on knowledge/framing

    • MNCs in issue networks

      • Focus on creating a common strategy/understanding of the problem

    4 contributions limits and future research
    4. Contributions, limits and future research

    • Contributions (p. 1592/3)

      • Offer a more complete picture of MNC interactions with their institutional environment.

      • Focus on the agency of MNCs.

      • Development of policy network perspective: explain the role of MNCs in institution-building.

    • Limitations

      • The categories of networks are underspecified.

      • The policy network approach is descriptive/heuristic, not necessarily explanatory.

    Future research
    Future research

    • Why do some issues become focal points of MNC mobilization and others do not?

    • Where do policy networks come from?

    • How can we derive better predictions about the success of particular networks?

    • Why do MNCs prefer different modes of policy convergences?