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Diplomatic and corporate networks: Bridges to foreign locations

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Abstract

Firms and governments operate in broad networks in which the home government and its diplomatic service are a critical node – or a “referral point” – between firms and potential partners in foreign locations. Thus diplomatic relations between countries matter for the choice of foreign investment location. Using a network perspective, we argue that the extent to which good diplomatic relations induce firms to invest in friendly host countries depends on their political connections to home governments. Those with stronger ties to home governments can better access and leverage intergovernmental diplomatic connections, thus benefiting potentially from enhanced access to information, reduced political risks, and increased legitimacy. Such ability of politically connected firms is more useful where weak institutional impartiality in the host country inhibits neutral treatment of foreign investors. Empirically, using overseas investment location decisions by Chinese firms, we find that the types of home government ties (i.e., whether they are organizational or personal and whether those relationships are with central or local goverments) and the impartiality of host institutions are both important contingencies affecting firms’ utilization of diplomatic relations. We discuss the implications of our study to research on network theory, political ties, and internationalization of emerging market firms.

公司和政府在广阔的网络中运营,其中本国政府及其外交服务是公司和在外国地点的潜在合作伙伴之间的关键节点或“引荐点”。因此,国家之间的外交关系对外国投资地点的选择是重要的。使用网络视角,我们认为,良好的外交关系引导公司投资友好东道国的程度取决于它们与本国政府的政治联系。那些与本国政府有着更密切联系的公司可以更好地获得和利用政府间的外交关系,从而潜在地得益于增加的信息获取,减少的政治风险和增加的合法性。有政治关系公司的这种能力在脆弱的东道国制度公正性抑制对外国投资者的中立待遇的情况下更为有用。实证上,采用中国公司海外投资定位决策,我们发现,本国政府关系的类型(无论是组织上的还是个人的,无论是中央的还是地方政府的)和东道国制度公正性都是影响企业利用外交关系的重要的偶发事件。我们讨论我们的研究对网络理论,政治关系以及新兴市场公司国际化研究的启示。

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[Li, Jing] Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

[Meyer, Klaus E.; Zhang, Hua; Ding, Yuan] China–Europe International Business School (CEIBS), Shanghai, China


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Source

Journal of International Business Studies

ISSN:0047-2506

Year:2018

Issue:6

Volume:49

Page:659-683

ESI Discipline:ECONOMICS & BUSINESS;

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