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Stephen Hymer: Life and the Political Economy of Multinational Corporate Capital

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  • Christos N. Pitelis

Abstract

This paper provides a short account of Stephen Hymer's life and (its link to) his contribution to the theory of the multinational enterprise (MNE), but mainly the political economy of multinational corporate capital. It suggests that as concerns the theory of the MNE, Hymer's contribution has in effect predated most current extant theory. His contribution to the political economy of multinational capital, the focus here, is less known, yet of extraordinary insight and foresight. Hymer predates most important debates on what today is called 'globalisation' and came up with analysis of the highest quality and predictions which in the main have stood the test of time. The chief limitation in Hymer's work stems from a tendency to emphasise the monopoly attributes of large MNEs, and the inefficiency and inequity of 'multinational corporate capital'. In part because of this tendency, some of his later work involved predictions that did not necessarily and/or fully follow from his analytical framework, were shaped by 'ideology' and were of varying agrees of accuracy. Despite limitations, Hymer's overall contribution and impact fully deserves the almost 'cult' status he has acquired in the history of economic thought and international business scholarship. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Christos N. Pitelis, 2002. "Stephen Hymer: Life and the Political Economy of Multinational Corporate Capital," Contributions to Political Economy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 9-26, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:copoec:v:21:y:2002:i:1:p:9-26
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Strange, Roger & Newton, James, 2006. "Stephen Hymer and the externalization of production," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 180-193, April.
    2. Riccardo Crescenzi & Kerwin Datu & Simona Iammarino, 2016. "European Cities and Foreign Investment Networks," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1616, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jul 2016.
    3. Pitelis, Christos & Teece, David, 2009. "The (new) nature and essence of the firm," MPRA Paper 24317, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Buckley, Peter J., 2006. "Stephen Hymer: Three phases, one approach?," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 140-147, April.
    5. Pearce, Robert & Papanastassiou, Marina, 2006. "To 'almost see the world': Hierarchy and strategy in Hymer's view of the multinational," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 151-165, April.
    6. Pitelis, Christos, 2007. "Edith Penrose and a learning-based perspective on the MNE and OLI," MPRA Paper 24318, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. repec:bla:jomstd:v:54:y:2017:i:3:p:340-365 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Yamin, Mohammad & Forsgren, Mats, 2006. "Hymer's analysis of the multinational organization: Power retention and the demise of the federative MNE," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 166-179, April.
    9. Pitelis, Christos, 2009. "Foreign direct investment and economic integration," MPRA Paper 23938, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Bitzenis, Aristidis & Tsitouras, Antonis & Vlachos, Vasileios A., 2009. "Decisive FDI obstacles as an explanatory reason for limited FDI inflows in an EMU member state: The case of Greece," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 691-704, August.
    11. Pease, Stephanie & Paliwoda, Stanley & Slater, Jim, 2006. "The erosion of stable shareholder practice in Japan ("Anteikabunushi Kosaku")," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 618-640, December.

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