The multinationals’ age is everywhere but in the economics curriculum
This paper has been included in the publication
“The Economics Curriculum: Towards a radical reformulation”
The paper starts with the provocative assertion that TNCs have very little impact on today’s economics curriculum. It aims to show that an understanding of modern economies cannot be arrived at without an understanding of how TNCs operate. It then briefly reviews some of the main theories of the TNCs in the last 50 years. It considers the relationship between economics and the study of TNCs arguing for the relevance of inclusion of such a study for both the micro and macro curriculum. At the micro level the issue of strategic behaviour by TNCs is discussed in relation to the opportunity for strategies offered by transnationality. Such opportunities are related to the enhanced bargaining power – particularly towards labour and governments – open to TNCs. It is argued that the existence of nation-states with their different regulatory regimes in such elements as labour markets, social security and fiscal regulations may create opportunities for specific strategies open to companies that operate across borders. Some macro issues of TNCs’ activities and behaviour are considered, particularly in relation to the manipulation of transfer prices.