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Bargains Old and New: Multinational Corporations in Global Governance


  • Levy David L.

    (University of Massachusetts, Boston)

  • Prakash Aseem

    (University of Washington-Seattle)


This paper outlines an approach for understanding the role of multinational corporations (MNCs) in global governance. We develop a typology of regime types with two dimensions, the goal of the regime, which can be market enabling or regulatory, and the location of authority, which can be national, regional, or international, with public and private elements. MNCs tend to support the creation of market enabling regimes at the international level, and prefer to keep social or environmental regulation under national or private authority. However, these are only generalizations and MNCs develop preferences based on their relative influence in various arenas, the costs of political participation, and competitive considerations. We argue that institutions of global governance represent the outcome of a series of negotiations among corporations, states, and non-state actors. The preferences and power of MNCs vary across issues and sectors, and from one negotiating forum to another, accounting for the uneven and fragmented nature of the resulting system. Our approach differs from the traditional FDI bargaining framework in that it recognizes the multi-party nature of negotiations and multiple sources of power. Moreover, the complexity and dynamic nature of the process results in a somewhat indeterminate process.

Suggested Citation

  • Levy David L. & Prakash Aseem, 2003. "Bargains Old and New: Multinational Corporations in Global Governance," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-21, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:5:y:2003:i:2:n:1

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wagner, Marcus, 2015. "A European perspective on country moderation effects: Environmental management systems and sustainability-related human resource benefits," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 379-388.
    2. Fichter Michael & Stevis Dimitris & Helfen Markus, 2012. "Bargaining for corporate responsibility: The global and the local of framework agreements in the USA," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(3), pages 1-31, October.
    3. Libman, Alexander, 2007. "Institutional competition in the post-Soviet space," MPRA Paper 10936, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Quak Sander & Heilbron Johan & van der Veen Romke, 2012. "Has globalization eroded firms’ responsibility for their employees? A sociological analysis of transnational firms’ corporate social responsibility policies concerning their employees in the Netherlan," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(3), pages 1-21, October.
    5. Rizopoulos, Yorgos A. & Sergakis, Dimitrios E., 2010. "MNEs and policy networks: Institutional embeddedness and strategic choice," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 250-256, July.
    6. Wagner, Marcus, 2010. "The role of corporate sustainability performance for economic performance: A firm-level analysis of moderation effects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 1553-1560, May.
    7. Nicolas Dahan & Jonathan Doh & Jonathan Raelin, 2015. "Pivoting the Role of Government in the Business and Society Interface: A Stakeholder Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 665-680, October.
    8. Denis Collins, 2009. "The Failure of a Socially Responsive Gold Mining MNC in El Salvador: Ramifications of NGO Mistrust," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(2), pages 245-268, September.
    9. Spagnoletti, Belinda & O’Callaghan, Terry, 2013. "Let there be light: A multi-actor approach to alleviating energy poverty in Asia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 738-746.
    10. Udayasankar, Krishna & Das, Shobha & Krishnamurti, Chandrasekhar, 2008. "When is Two Really Company? The Effects of Competition and Regulation on Corporate Governance," Working Paper Series 4020, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    11. Vivoda Vlado, 2011. "Bargaining Model for the International Oil Industry," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(4), pages 1-36, December.

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