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Title: Business groups and the study of international business: A Coasean synthesis and extension
Authors: Dau, LA
Morck, R 
Yeung, BY 
Issue Date: 10-Feb-2021
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Citation: Dau, LA, Morck, R, Yeung, BY (2021-02-10). Business groups and the study of international business: A Coasean synthesis and extension. Journal of International Business Studies 52 (2) : 161-211. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This paper harmonizes the business group literature in international business and across relevant fields within a unified theoretical framework. Business groups (firms under common control but with different, if overlapping, owners) are economically important in much of the world. Business groups’ economic significance co-evolves with their economies' institutions and market environments, patterns of particular interest to international business scholars. The vast literature on business groups raises discordant perspectives. This paper first proposes a unifying definition and provides a list of stylized historical observations on business groups across different parts of the world. It then develops a Coasean framework to harmonize seemingly disparate views from the literature by building on recent surveys and the stylized historical patterns of business groups. We enlist two concepts – fallacies of composition/decomposition and time inconsistency – to harmonize these perspectives. This yields a theoretical framework for understanding business groups that mobilizes concepts long-used to understand multinational enterprises: the economy's market and hierarchical transaction costs, openness, and their dynamic interactions. We then apply this framework to globalization and business group internationalization. This work leads to an overarching research agenda encompassing seemingly inconsistent prior work.
Source Title: Journal of International Business Studies
ISSN: 00472506
DOI: 10.1057/s41267-020-00395-x
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