Projects by Focal Areas:
Trade, Investment, and Labor Policy
Property Rights and Global Innovation
Natural Resource Scarcity, Security, and Sustainability
Economic, Financial, and Political Crisis
Diaspora Investment and Entrepreneurship
Projects by Researcher:
Projects by Focal Areas: Natural Resource Scarcity, Security, and Sustainability
FDI & Energy Security. Do Managers Carry the Flag?
PI: Robert Weiner, Professor, Department of International Business, GWSB
The resurgence of the state in the global economy has led researchers to refocus on the effects of government actions. This paper investigates whether the return of state capitalism is taking place through multinational enterprises (MNEs), private as well as state-owned. In particular, we examine whether MNE managers act in the interest of their home-country policies in foreign direct investment (FDI) decisions, termed carrying the flag. While widely discussed in the press, state capitalism presents stiff research challenges - state objectives are typically hard to characterize at best, unclear or conflicting at worst. How can we determine if MNE managers are carrying the flag in the absence of clear home-country policy goals? We meet this challenge by examining an arena wherein the governments of some countries have a clearly stated goal - energy security, specifically access to oil.
The Politics of International Investment and Intellectual Property Rights
PI: Susan Sell, Professor, Department of Political Science, CCAS
This project proposes to design a graduate course for the ESIA International Trade and Investment Program that addresses and analyzes the politics of investment and intellectual property. The course will provide students with an understanding of the firm-state-society relations that animate this complex and dynamic policy area. The course will be team-taught with Jacques Gorlin, an economics PhD who was a leading adviser to the Fortune 500 business firms (including Microsoft, IBM, Monsanto, and Merck) that succeeded in developing the WTO Agreement on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). The course will exist as a three or four week course in May 2012. The first two or three weeks would consist of intensive seminars in which students would learn about the issues, read primary and secondary source material, and hear from DC-based industry, government, and NGO representatives active in this policy area. After providing students with sufficient background about the issues, the controversies, the core actors, the interests, and the relevant institutions, we would bring the students to Geneva for a week of briefings and lectures by international organization representatives (e.g., from WIPO and WTO), developing country think tanks (Third World Network, the South Centre, and International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development), Geneva-based industry associations (e.g., International Federation for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association), and IP-Watch.
The Political Economy of Oil in Japan, France, and the United States
PI: Llewelyn Hughes, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, CCAS
The project examines variation in government intervention in the international oil market by major oil-importing states. Policies designed to enhance national control over the petroleum supply chain were restructured the 1980s in the three countries examined in the study, giving the state a less significant role in shaping trade in crude oil and petroleum products. This process was reversed in some countries, but not others, under conditions of high prices in the 2000s. I argue these changes reflect the interests of two sets of political actors: governmental actors (bureaucratic and political) with responsibility for oil policy, and firms engaged in the oil sector. Further, these actors focus on political, organizational and commercial goals, rather than national security, when crafting oil policies. Changes in oil policies over time reflected the effect of shifts in oil prices on the policy preferences of state actors and firms as they pursue their political, organizational and commercial goals
Voluntary Environmental Regulation in Central America: Assessment of Costa Rica’s Blue Flag Certification Program
PI: Jorge Rivera, Associate Professor, Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy, GWSB
The broad objective of this project is to evaluate the performance of Costa Rica’s voluntary Blue Flag certification program, focusing on beach communities. More specifically, we seek to address two questions:
i. What factors drive participation of beach communities in the Blue Flag program?
ii. Has the program had a significant impact?
The Blue Flag Program is an international initiative that has been implemented in about 40 countries across the world. Originally created in France in 1987, it has independently certified the environmental quality or more 3000 tourist destinations. The program requires businesses operating in a specific tourist destination to apply jointly to receive certification. Since most, if not all, other voluntary regulatory programs require individual firm participation, the requirement for joint application and certification offers a rare opportunity to study voluntary business collective action to promote positive environmental externalities. In Costa Rica, the Blue Flag program was launched in 1996 and it includes more that 100 tourist destination communities that have received different levels of certification. We will focus on beaches communities. A total of 58 Costa Rican beaches have been certified.
The Business Climate in Sierra Leone for US Companies: Consequences of US and Chinese Economic Policy on African Institutional Development
PI: Jeremey Streatfeild, Doctoral Student, Department of Political Science, CCAS
This research project investigates how U.S. trade and investment policies affect development of institutions in Sierra Leone to provide a more transparent and predictable climate for US businesses and whether this process is undermined or aided by China’s growing economic role in the country. From an academic standpoint, Sierra Leone provides a test case of whether political and economic institutions can arise “bottom-up” through economic development, as the Chinese model appears to suggest, or whether economic development must be coordinated with political development in order to provide a longer term stable business climate for US interests, as the U.S. model and the literature suggest.
The Determinants of Technological Change Towards Renewable Energies in the Electricity Industry: Perspectives from the Global Wind Energy Sector
PI: Jocelyn Leitzinger, Doctoral Student, Department of International Business, GWSB
This project aims to identify why countries vary in their adoption rates of renewable energy technologies. Focusing on the wind energy sector within the electricity industry, this project examines cross-country differences in renewable energy technology adoption rates over the past 30 years. The study presents the hypotheses that (i) a nation’s institutions moderate the ability of its national and regional policies to increase levels of renewable energy technology adoption in the wind energy sector; and (ii) a nation’s adoption activity is influenced by economic factors such as prices and the available supply of traditional energy sources. Furthermore, the study considers the effect of institutional factors such as path dependency in the electricity industry, knowledge ties between industry and research institutions, and policy risk, and how they may impede or enhance the effectiveness of policy instruments.
Surviving (Even Thriving?) Under Excessive Volatility: A Case Study of the Firestone Plantation Company in Liberia from 1980 to 2007
PI: Suzanne Kathleen McCoskey, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, CCAS
This research aims at determining how the Firestone Plantation Company in Liberia was able to survive in the presence of an extreme combination of domestic shocks and near chaos in the country during the years of 1980-2007. Thus, this study promotes the understanding of U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in developing countries, particularly in the presence of conflict. Further identifying reasons for Firestone’s survival could allow for competitive lessons learned for other U.S. companies interested in FDI in Africa. An additional hypothesis of the research is that the ability for Firestone to thrive, not only survive, in the future will depend on the institutional capacity of Liberia and its ability to work with the company to strengthen its bond with the people and future of the nation.