The Project

Foreign companies have played a fundamental role in the Argentinian economy development since the beginning of the process of internal market organization and the consolidation of the nation state in the 19th century until the present day. With this in mind, the general aim of the project is to analyze the historical role of multinational companies and the characteristics of the different cycles of foreign direct investment in the long term and from a business history perspective. Using the company as unit of analysis, we seek to identify the main factors in the evolution and in the changes in sectorial distribution, investment patterns, commercial strategies, and in the organisational and corporate governance structure of foreign companies in varying economic scenarios. Secondly, we aim to identify the determinants of the entry to Argentina and the many impacts of foreign companies during various historical periods in the light of analytical theories on foreign direct investment and multinational companies.
The inclusion of historical evidence and the analysis of each of the cycles allow a review of the periodization of foreign investment cycles by detecting with greater precision the changes and continuities in the structures and strategies of multinational corporations, avoiding the labelling of certain processes, configurations or typologies as exceptional, when they result from long-term historical trajectories. For this, we take into account the effects of the transformation of the global economy on the dynamics of multinationals in the first boom cycle of foreign investment until the First World War (first phase of globalization), the effects of the Great Depression and the Second World War (reversal of the first globalization), the new boom cycle of foreign investments begun in the late 1950s, the global crisis of 1973 (beginning of the second phase); the economic and financial restructuring and the restructuring of the economy after the 1990s (current phase of globalization).

The research focuses on equivalent proposals currently being developed in other late industrializing economies, such as Italy, Spain, Switzerland and The Netherlands. These projects include the construction of a new series of data on foreign companies that compliments the statistics on flows and stock of FDI, with the aim of providing a comprehensive and long term vision of the dynamics of foreign investment and its impact on host economies. In this way, the project also proposes to make a comparative analysis of the role of foreign direct investment in late industrializing countries in the 20th century.

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