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date: 26 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In considering the origin, form, and global spread of the value-added activities of multinational enterprises (MNEs) over the past four and a half decades, this article traces the main thrust and content of two influential strands of literature. The two strands are closely interrelated. The first examines the development of scholarly thinking on the determinants of the ownership, sectoral pattern, and geographical scope of MNE activity. The second identifies, and where possible evaluates the significance of the main changes in the external technological, economic, and political environment that, in part at least, have helped fashion these determinants. In reviewing both literatures, and the interface between them, the article considers three main time periods, viz. the 1960s to the mid 1970s, the mid 1970s to the late 1980s, and the late 1980s to the early 2000s.

Keywords: value-added activities, multinational enterprises, economic change, 1960s, sectoral pattern, scholarly thinking

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