In light of the increasing global competition among both multinational companies and national economies, Barbara Samuels examines a source of economic tension that has broad social implications: as multinational companies (MNCs) strive for cheaper labor and new markets, less-developed countries (LDCs) are becoming more concerned with extracting benefits from these companies to achieve their development objectives. Samuels centers her study on the variables shaping the responses of MNCs to national demands while considering current debates on country risk, global competitiveness, and national industrial policy. Advancing a micro-view of the MNC and its host country in two case studies, Samuels shows how an MNC subsidiary's integration with headquarters and its closeness with local government affect its management of risk and its ability to deal with LDC demands. Here the author investigates the labor and investment policy changes brought about when various automotive subsidiaries interacted with national interest groups in Brazil and with the government in Mexico. Both cases illustrate how the policy response of one subsidiary creates the dynamics for defensive policy changes of its competitors. MNC managers and LDC policymakers can draw important conclusions.
Originally published in 1990.
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