* Populist Politics and International Business Policy:*

Problems, Practices, and Prescriptions for MNEs and Their Regulators

*A Special Issue of Papers Proposed for Publication in*

*Journal of International Business Policy*

*Paper Submission Deadline: March 15, 2022*

*Special Issue Co-Editors:*

Christopher A. Hartwell, Barclay E. James, Thomas Lindner, Jakob Müllner &
Paul M. Vaaler[1] <#_ftn1>

*Coordinating JIBP Senior Editor: *

Paul M. Vaaler

*SI Description*

The *Journal of International Business Policy* (*JIBP*) has been analyzing
populist politics and their impact on international business (IB) policy
from its founding. Rodrik’s (2018) lead article in the inaugural issue of
*JIBP* explained post-Cold War origins of nationalist, anti-elitist,
anti-globalist ideologies and ideologues in different regions of the world.
It analyzed current problems they pose for international trade and
investment. It prescribed general public policy reforms for national and
international regulators as well as general IB practices for multinational
enterprises (MNE) dealing with those problems. It also set a foundation for
future IB research analyzing the specifics: specific populist politics and
politicians in host countries; specific problems they pose for
international trade and investment; specific public policies and IB
practices diminishing or magnifying those problems for others. This JIBP
special issue aims to build on that foundation.

Long before *JIBP*’s founding, IB researchers analyzed problems raised by
mismatched host-country politics and MNE investing practices (Robinson,
1963; Vernon, 1971, Kobrin, 1987). That said, there is something new and
different about the current strains of populist politics turning up in
different countries and regions. Indeed, one challenge facing researchers
in IB and related fields is in defining populism and its politics.
Political scientists find it “thin” on ideology (Stanley, 2008). In
response, Rode and Revuelta (2015) define different types of populism:
structural populism means policies enhancing the development of a distinct
national culture; economic populism means policies enhancing national
wealth and changing its distribution; political-institutional populism
means policies enhancing the personal story and charisma of a national
leader; and discursive populism means policies enhancing the national
“good’ in the battle of “good versus evil” involving domestic elites versus
regular people, and both domestic groups against foreigners. In this
context, populism may seem similar to more conventional left-wing politics
emphasizing the economic priorities of workers seeking a “fair”
redistribution of national wealth. But populism may also arise in forms
similar to right-wing political conventions emphasizing the cultural
priorities of small business entrepreneurs and families devoted to national
values. As a unifying characteristic, they all engender a suspicion of
foreigners, including MNEs (Hartwell & Devinney, 2021).

No matter which definition of populism is utilized, the phenomenon populism
has persisted as a political force for many reasons, not least of all its
malleability but also its easy characterization of good versus evil and/or
a virtuous polity pushing back against corrupt politicians. But the
landscape of populism, once the exclusive property of Latin America and
other developing regions, has shifted substantially over the past 15 years.
In the 2020s, populist policies threatening MNE operations still
occasionally inform politicians in emerging markets: President of the
Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, and his infrastructure development policies
favoring contractors with domestic partners may be an apt example. But the
geographic scope of such populist policies has broadened considerably. It
includes emerging-market economic giants like Brazil under President Jair
Bolsonaro and his coalition of supporting parties named “Brazil above
everything, God above everyone.” It includes industrialized liberal
democracies like the UK under Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Tory
Brexiteers. It includes illiberalizing transition states like Hungary under
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his anti-immigrant Fidesz party winning an
unprecedented third consecutive electoral mandate in 2018.

No matter populism’s general definition or its specific policies and
politicians, the ultimate goals are acquisition and retention of executive
political power (Devinney & Hartwell, 2020; Rode & Revuelta, 2015). To
those ends, populist politics and politicians subvert institutions limiting
that power. They weaken legislative and judicial checks on that power
(Devinney & Hartwell 2020). The executive gains greater discretion to
change laws and regulations (García-Canal & Guillén, 2008). But those laws
and regulations are also written to assure MNEs that investment agreements
struck with the executive in the past will persist in the future (Rode &
Revuelta 2015). They assure MNEs that they can support their investments
with international transfers of people and technologies. Thus, populist
goals to acquire and retain executive political power often undermine the
institutional policy stability (Henisz, 2000) on which MNEs depend for
investment project survival and success.

Mainstream IB theories provide insights into how populism may influence
cross-border business. Under institutional economics, for example,
political parties are “design instruments” for the formal institutional
environment in a country (North, 1990; Williamson, 2000). Investigating
these changes, IB research has made inroads into understanding how populism
influences firm internationalization. Ghauri, Strange, and Cooke (2021),
for example, tell us that populism may change the trajectory of MNE
internationalization. Devinney and Hartwell (2020) suggest that governments
influenced by populist political parties are more inclined to pressure MNEs
against seeking global scope. Rode and Revuelta (2015) illustrate
empirically that countries with populist governments reduce economic
freedom in at least three ways: they diminish legal security all investors
seek; they limit the freedom to trade abroad denying investors business
opportunities abroad; and they tighten economic regulations constraining
investors seeking business opportunities at home. Such instability may also
influence the structuring cross-border transactions (Dorobantu, Lindner, &
Müllner, 2020). It may even force investors to pair up with a state-owned
enterprise, thus blurring economic and political aspects of business
opportunities (James & Vaaler, 2018). Populist politics and policies often
pose problems for investors, particularly MNEs promoting greater regional
and global economic integration (Kunczer, Lindner & Puck, 2019).

Empirically, IB research on populism and firm-level outcomes is still in
its infancy. There are sources at hand to speed that growth. Political
science researchers have developed detailed cross-country data on populist
party platform issues, vote shares, legislative representation and
government participation rates. Those data sources include the “Manifesto
Project,” the “Varieties of Democracy Database,” and the “Timbro
Authoritarian Populism Index.” Combined with firm-level databases more
familiar in IB scholarship (see, *e.g*., James & Vaaler, 2018), these
political science-based data sources can readily equip IB researchers for
interdisciplinary empirical work on the nexus between populist policies,
MNE strategies and global governance.

Our SI seeks papers on populism and IB policy contributing novel theory and
empirics. We want to build on the foundation laid in the inaugural issue of
JIBP. In the process, we want to position JIBP as the premier forum for IB
research and researchers interested in populism and its implications for
MNE operations across different country contexts. The SI invites
submissions from researchers in IB, other management fields, and fields
outside of management such as economics, political science, sociology, law,
geography, development studies, public policy, and international relations.
However, all submissions should offer clear policy contributions relevant
for IB scholarship and practice. We encourage submissions bridging
disciplines and we welcome papers primarily aimed at theory development as
well as papers primarily aimed at empirical investigation of
theoretically-grounded research questions. Empirical investigations may be
primarily quantitative, qualitative, or a mix of both approaches. Most
importantly, all contributions should spell out connections between
populism and IB policy consequences relevant to public regulators, MNE
executives, or both.

Research topics may include but are not limited to the following:

·       What institutions empower or constrain populist policies and
politics relevant to MNE operations?

·       How are the varieties of host-country populism across the partisan
political spectrum relevant for MNE decisions about whether and how to
invest there?

·       How do populist policies in developing and developed countries
differ in ways that matter for MNEs?

·       How does populism spill across national or even regional borders
that affect IB policies relevant to MNEs?

·       Which international institutions relevant to MNEs are more
resilient to populist political influences?

·       How do varieties of populism affect different forms of foreign
investment carried out by MNEs, e.g. project finance-based investment,
public-private partnership-based investment, state-owned enterprise-based

·       What firm-level elements influence MNE exposure to host-country
populist politics, e.g. partial state-ownership, operation in a national
security industry, operation in a technology-intensive industry, operation
in highly-regulated industry, operation in an industry dominated by
economically- or socially-defined elites?

·       How does populism influence MNEs internationalization via licensing
and franchising?

·       When might populist shifts in host-country politics benefit MNEs,
and actually decrease their “liability of foreignness”?

·       How might populist policies in an MNE’s home country change
important intra-organizational strategies and structures, e.g.
subsidiary-headquarters relationships, ex-pat movements between
subsidiaries, MNE accounting practices?

·       What types of non-market strategies do MNEs use to counter
host-country populist shifts, e.g. host-country political connections,
philanthropic donations?

These topics are not exhaustive but merely illustrative of possible
submission topics.

*SI Workshop*

The SI editors will invite authors to participate in a paper development
workshop after the first round of paper review and editorial decision in
mid-2022. The paper development workshop will occur in Fall 2022 in
coordination with the annual meeting of the European International Business
Association. The exact date and location will be announced later in 2021.
Authors in the process of revising their papers will have the opportunity
to meet SI editors and other invitees, present their work in progress, and
meet IB scholars sharing their research interests. Invitation to the
workshop does not assure acceptance of papers for publication in the SI.

*SI Timeline from Submission to Publication*

All submissions will be evaluated by the special issue editors. They will
follow this timeline for submission, peer review, revision, acceptance, and
*JIBP* publication:

·       March 15, 2022: Deadline for submission of full manuscripts via
Manuscript Central portal for *JIBP* (

·       June 30, 2022: Notification of decisions on submitted manuscripts.

·       Fall (September) 2022: Paper development workshop for papers under

·       October 15, 2022: Revised manuscripts due.

·       March 15, 2023: Last version of manuscript due.

·       July 31, 2023: Final decision about inclusion into SI

·       December 2023:  Publication of *JIBP *special issue.

Submissions must comply with the *JIBP* editorial guidelines, code of
ethics, and style guide. Please contact the special issue editors with any

*SI Editor Bios*

*Christopher A. Hartwell *is a professor and heads the International
Management Institute at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)
School of Management and Law.  He is also a professor of international
management at Kozminski University in Poland and a visiting professor at
the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public
Administration.  Chris studies institutional development and firm strategy,
especially the interplay between financial institutions and other political
and economic institutions. He has published his research in several
journals including *Journal of World Business, Global Strategy Journal,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Explorations in Economic
History, Journal of Comparative Economics, Regional Studies, Cambridge
Journal of Economics, *and *Journal of Institutional Economics*.  You can
learn more about Chris and his background here:

*Barclay E. James* is an associate professor of international business at
the Greehey School of Business at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio,
Texas.  Barclay studies host-country investment policies, political actors
and their impact on MNE risk management.  His research has been published
in several journals including *Organization Science, Management
International Review, Journal of International Management, International
Business Review, Journal of Business Research, *and* Asia Pacific Journal
of Management.  *You can learn more about Barclay and his background here:

*Thomas Lindner *is a professor of international management at University
of Innsbruck. He is also a visiting professor at the Vienna University of
Economics and Management (WU) as well as a guest lecturer at the Copenhagen
Business School and the Nantes Business School. Thomas studies
international finance and strategy with a special interest in the valuation
of cross-border bond issues, and project finance. His research has been
published in several journals including *Academy of Management
Journal*, *International
Business Review*, *Journal of International Business Policy*, *Journal of
International Business Studies*, *Journal of International Management*, and
the *Journal of World Business.*  You can learn more about Thomas and his
background here:

*Jakob Müllner *is an associate professor of international business and
finance at WU. His work focuses on international business and financial
risk management strategies in internationalization.  He has published his
research in several journals including the *Academy of Management Journal,
Journal of Corporate Finance, *and *Journal of World Business*.  You can
learn more about Jakob and his background here:

*Paul M. Vaaler* is a professor and the John and Bruce Mooty Chair in Law &
Business, a joint appointment of the University of Minnesota’s Law School
and Carlson School of Management.  He is a senior editor at *JIBP*.  Paul
studies risk and investment behavior by foreign firms and individuals
active in developing countries undergoing policy reforms.  He has published
his research in several journals including the *Academy of Management
Journal*, *Economics Letters*, *Journal of Business Venturing*, *Journal of
International Business Studies*, *Journal of International
Management*, *Journal
of International Money and Finance*, *Journal of Management Studies*, *Journal
of World Business*, *Organization Science*, *Review of Development
Economics*, *Strategic Management Journal*, and *Strategy Science*.  You
can learn more about Paul and his background here:

*SI References*

Devinney, T. M., & Hartwell, C. A. 2020. Varieties of populism. *Global
Strategy Journal*, 10(1), 32-66.

Dorobantu, S., Lindner, T., & Müllner, J. 2020. Political risk and alliance
diversity: A two-stage model of partner selection in multipartner
alliances. *Academy of Management Journal*, 63(6), 1775-1806.

García‐Canal, E., & Guillén, M. F. 2008. Risk and the strategy of foreign
location choice in regulated industries. *Strategic Management Journal*,
29(10), 1097-1115.

Ghauri, P., Strange, R., & Cooke, F. L. 2021. Research on international
business: The new realities. *International Business Review*, 30(2), 101794.

Hartwell, C. A., & Devinney, T. 2021. Populism, political risk, and
pandemics: The challenges of political leadership for business in a
post-COVID world. *Journal of World Business*, 56(4), 101225.

Henisz, W. 2000. The institutional environment for multinational
investment. *Journal of Law, Economics and Organization*, 16: 334-364.

James, B. E., & Vaaler, P. M. 2018. Minority rules: Credible state
ownership and investment risk around the world. *Organization Science*,
29(4), 653-677.

Kobrin, S. 1987. Testing the bargaining hypothesis in the manufacturing
sector in developing countries. *International Organization*, 41: 609-638.

Kunczer, V., Lindner, T., & Puck, J. 2019. Benefitting from immigration:
The value of immigrants’ country knowledge for firm
internationalization. *Journal
of International Business Policy*, 2(4), 356-375.

North, D. 1990. A transaction cost theory of politics. *Journal of
Theoretical Politics*, 2(4), 355-367.

Robinson, R. 1963. *International business policy*. New York, NY: Holt:
Rinehart & Winston.

Rode, M., & Revuelta, J. (2015). The wild bunch! An empirical note on
populism and economic institutions. *Economics of Governance*, 16(1), 73-96.

Rodrik, D. 2018. Populism and the economics of globalization. *Journal of
International Business Policy*, 1(1), 12-33.

Stanley, B. 2008. The thin ideology of populism. *Journal of Political
Ideologies*, 13(1), 95-110.

Vernon, R. 1971. *Sovereignty at bay: The multinational spread of U.S.
enterprise*. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Williamson, O. 2000.  The new institutional economics:  Taking stock,
looking ahead. *Journal of Economic Literature*, 38(3), 595-613.

*SI Editor Contact Information*

*Christopher A. Hartwell*

Professor, Director of International Mgmt. Institute

ZHAW School of Management and Law

Theaterstrasse 17, 8400 Winterthur


E-Mail: [log in to unmask]

*Barclay E. James*

Associate Professor of International Business

St. Mary's University

One Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, TX 78228


E-Mail: [log in to unmask]

*Thomas Lindner *

Professor of International Management

University of Innsbruck

Karl-Rahner-Platz 3, 6020 Innsbruck


E-Mail: [log in to unmask]

*Jakob Müllner*

Associate Professor of International Management

Vienna University of Economics & Management

Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna


E-Mail: [log in to unmask]

*Paul M. Vaaler*

Professor, Mooty Chair in Law and Business

Carlson School of Management

University of Minnesota

321 19th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55455


E-Mail: [log in to unmask]

[1] <#_ftnref1> SI editor contact information is provided at the conclusion
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