Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 02/2012

Nation states and nationality of MNEs

Seev Hirsch

January 2012

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment


The purpose of this Perspective is to explore the relationship between multinational enterprises (MNEs) and their home countries. I use the term “nationality” when discussing a home country, to stress the contrast with “multinationality” which refers to business enterprises. The question I seek to address is whether, ceteris paribus, nation states have an economic interest in becoming home countries to MNEs. This is not a trivial question, bearing in mind that in many countries -- especially those with emerging markets -- outward foreign direct investment (FDI) has been frowned upon long after incoming FDI was generally welcome by local governments and academic scholars.