Multinational Corporations and the Politics of International Trade in Multidisciplinary Perspective

  • Citation: Ballor, Grace A., and Aydin B. Yuldirim. “Multinational Corporations and the Politics of International Trade in Multidisciplinary Perspective.” Business and Politics 22, no. 4 (2020): 573–86.
    • Topics:
    • Business and Trade
    • Keywords:
    • big business
    • economic governance
    • global value chains
    • trade policy
    • corporate regulation

From the technical analyses of wide ranges of scholars to the public discourse backlashes against globalization, there is a huge volume of work historicizing, quantifying, and problematizing the complex role of multinational corporations (MNCs) in international trade. The body of literature is so large that most readers rely on disciplinary boundaries to narrow the catalog, causing them to miss out on important synergies across fields. By bringing the work of historians, lawyers, and political scientists working on MNCs and international trade into conversation, we offer an expanded perspective. Our collective contribution highlights the political dimensions of MNCs within the frameworks of global economic governance, in which corporations seek to influence trade policies amid rising protectionism and coordinate their activities within industry associations while regulators struggle to hold MNC parent companies accountable to international human rights violations across their value chains. Especially in this moment of re-evaluation — and possible de-globalization following the shock of COVID-19 — our multidisciplinary analysis explains how MNCs exerted political power over trade regimes in the past, by what means they seek to shape regulatory frameworks in the present, and what the possible futures might be for big business operations in a more or less global economy.

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