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Political Economy of International Business

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Political Economy of International Business



Political Economy of International Business



Exam assessment

Exam assessment is based on two essays of max 2000 words each. Essays will mainly require students to apply different theories and concepts in the analysis of the international business issues by either qualitative exploration or quantitative data analysis. Ideally, students should use some of the skills learned in quantitative and qualitative study skills courses.


  • You should choose one questions from different topics (areas).
  • You can modify or suggest another question or topic only upon approval by the tutor
  • It is advisable that you discuss the outline of your essay with the course tutor
  • These essays should be uploaded on Moodle (by midnight). If essays are not submitted in time penalty policy applies.
  • In case of late submission Departmental penalty policy applies

Criteria for assessment

  • Articulation: How clearly the problem has been defined?
  • Comprehension: How clearly the ideas and arguments have been elaborated?
  • Novelty: Originality of exposition or critique or argument?
  • Methodology: How systematically research methodology has been employed?


Literature listed below each topic represent only indicative, not an exhaustive list of readings. You are expected to broaden your reading list, especially if you aim to get a higher mark.

You may want to do an extensive search of databases like Scopus or Web of Science to identify the most relevant papers for your topic. Both databases are accessible through UCL LIBRARY SERVICES MetaLib – gateway to electronic resources

In Giorgo Barba Navaretti and Anthony J. Venables (2004) Multinational Firms in the World Economy, Princeton University Press, Princeton you will find a comprehensive list of databases on FDI and the activities of multinationals (Appendix A: p. 283-298)

UNCTAD website contains all issues of World Investment Reports at This is the standard reference on FDI. Annual reports give you updates on FDI statistics and, regional overviews. Each volume is devoted to the specific issue be it competitiveness, development, employment, linkages, R&D, etc.

In addition to World Bank Development Indicators, Eurostat, OECD (much of it accessible via UCL library) and IMF you will find useful data at UNCTAD FDI Database

alternatively, at,5&sCS_ChosenLang=en

On the same site, you will find detailed data on the sectoral structure of FDI for several countries.  For trade data, which you may want to combine with FDI data, you can access it at the same website at

For some topics, you may use OECD/WTO database on trade in value added which is available at


  2. Review competing theories of banking (financial intermediation and credit creation) and discuss how they interpret 2008 Global Financial Crisis

Richard A. Werner (2014) Can banks individually create money out of nothing? — The theories and the empirical evidence, International Review of Financial Analysis 36: 1–19

Robert C. Hockett and Saule T. Omarova (2017) The Finance Franchise, Cornell Law Review, Volume 102, Issue 5 July 2017 Article 1

Zoltan Jakab and Michael Kumhof (2018) Banks are not intermediaries of loanable funds — facts, theory and evidence, Staff Working Paper No. 761, Bank of England.

  1. b) Discuss two major views on the causes of the 2008 global financial crisis: ‘excess savings’ and ‘excess elasticity’ views.

Claudio Borio and Piti Disyatat  (2011), “Global imbalances and the financial crisis: Link or no link? BIS Working Papers No 346 (Moodle)

Furceri, D. and A. Mourougane (2009), “Financial Crises: Past lessons and Policy Implications”, OECD Economics Department Working Papers, No. 668, OECD

Kati Suominen, Did global imbalances cause the crisis? 14 June 2010, VOX,

Karl helan (2009) Global Imbalances and the Financial Crisis, European Parliament,

Zsolt Darvas, and Jean Pisani-Ferry (2010) Future development of global imbalances, European Parliament,

+ Key readings from seminars

  1. c) Analyse and discuss the taxation competition in the enlarged EU with the particular reference to the CEECs.

Aurelie Cassette and Sonia Paty (2008), Tax competition among Eastern and Western European countries: With whom do countries compete?, Economic Systems 32 (2008) 307–325

Lars P. Feld and Jost H. Heckemeyer (2009) FDI and Taxation: A Meta-Study, CESIFO Working Paper No. 2540, February 2009

Devereux M.P., Griffith R. (2002) The impact of corporate taxation on the location of capital: a review. Swedish Economic Policy Review, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 79-102. Available at:

Zodrow, G.R.  (2003) Tax Competition and Tax Coordination in the European Union, International Tax and Public Finance, 10, pp. 651-671.

Bellak, Christian and Leibrecht, Markus (2005), “Do Low Corporate Income Tax Rates Attract FDI? – Evidence from Eight Central- and East European Countries” (2005). University of Nottingham Research Paper No. 2005/43

Bellak, Christian and Leibrecht, Markus (2005) ‘Effective tax rates as a determinant of Foreign Direct Investment in Central- and East European Countries: A panel analysis’, Discussion Paper Nr. 7, Vienna University, At

Margit Schratzenstaller (2005), Company Tax Co-ordination in an Enlarged EU Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO,  Submitted for the Second Euroframe Conference on Economic Policy Issues in the European Union

“Trade, FDI and Relocation: Challenges for the EU?” Vienna, June 2005, At

Kelly Edmiston, Shannon Mudd, and Neven Valev (2003) Tax Structures and FDI

The Deterrent Effects of Complexity and Uncertainty, William Davidson Working Paper Number 558, April 2003

  1. d) Analyze ‘pro-active’ and ‘reactive’ financial strategies of the CEE or Chinese ‘blue chip’ companies

This requires access to financial data and a good understanding of company strategy. The availability of data may diverge widely between different companies.  For access to company data, you may use DATASTREAM database which you can access in SSEES library

Oxelheim, L., T. Randy, A. Stonehill (2001) On the treatment of finance-specific factors within the OLI paradigm, International Business Review 10, pp. 381-398.

  1. Fritz Foley and Kalina Manova (2015) International Trade, Multinational Activity, and Corporate Finance, Annu. Rev. Econ. 2015. 7:119–46

Bowe, M., Filatotchev, I., & Marshall, A. Integrating contemporary finance and international business research. International Business Review (2010), doi:10.1016/j.ibusrev.2010.01.005

  1. e) Use measures of financial globalisation/integration and analyse the position of one economy of your choice. Place your analysis in the context of the literature on the costs and benefits of financial globalisation.

Eswar Prasad, Kenneth Rogoff, Shang-Jin Wei and M. Ayhan Kose (2003) Effects of Financial Globalization on Developing Countries: Some Empirical Evidence, International Monetary Fund, March 17, 2003

  1. Ayhan Kose, Eswar Prasad, Kenneth Rogoff, and Shang-Jin Wei (2006) Financial Globalization: A Reappraisal, IMF Working Paper 6189

+ other references under this topic and key readings from seminars

  1. f) The extent of tax avoidance by multinational firms has risen significantly in the recent period. Explain why and discuss how this has happened?

Thomas Wright and  Gabriel Zucman (2018) The Exorbitant Tax Privilege,  NBER WORKING PAPER SERIES, Working Paper 24983

Gabriel Zucman (2015)  The Hidden Wealth of  Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens, The University of Chicago Press.

Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Zhiyao (Lucy) Lu (2016) Apple’s Tax

Dispute With Europe and the Need for Reform, Policy Brief, 16-16  Peterson Institute for International Economics

Ángela Castillo Murciego and Julio López-Laborda (2017). Are Spanish companies involved in profit shifting? Consequences in terms of tax revenues. Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, 11

(2017-1): 1—47.

Martin Paldam (2013) Safe havens in Europe: Switzerland and the ten dwarfs

The European Journal of Comparative Economics, Vol. 10, n. 3, pp. 377-396

Available online at

Thomas R. Tørsløv,

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