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Title: The Political Economy of Information in International Organizations and International Business
Authors: Miyano, Sayumi
Advisors: Milner, Helen V.
Contributors: Politics Department
Subjects: Political science
International relations
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation investigates the political determinants of information related to energy, technology, and business, as published by international organizations (IOs) or utilized by multinational corporations (MNCs). In contrast to the prevailing notion of IOs as neutral information providers, it argues that the information disseminated by IOs is politically influenced by the competitive environment among IOs and MNCs. It also unveils how certain firms leverage their networks along the global value chain or with their home government to exert their influence in the global market. Chapter 1 explores the impact of overlapping IOs on the strategies employed by existing IOs to provide critical information that supports policy-making and international cooperation. Through an analysis of text and projection data from IOs' energy outlook publications and policy recommendations, the paper reveals that competition among IOs, driven by the pursuit of both a reputation as neutral experts and support from major financial contributors, alters both the quantity and quality of the information provided. This implies that while IO competition may stimulate increased information provision, it also incentivizes biased information favoring the preferences of funding states, especially when the information is less verifiable, such as future predictions. Chapter 2 investigates how multinational corporations exert influence on international standards through their global subsidiary networks. The standards published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) significantly shape non-tariff barriers to trade, thereby determining which firms dominate the global market. The paper argues that MNCs may encourage countries where they have subsidiaries to participate in related standard development, especially in the Global South, thereby influencing voting outcomes within the ISO. Utilizing an original panel dataset of ISO technical committee voting membership, the study demonstrates that national representatives are more likely to actively participate in standardization activities when their countries have experienced inward foreign direct investments (FDI) in related industries. Chapter 3 (coauthored with Diana Stanescu) examines how firms, including those from developed economies, benefit from establishing ties with their home government to obtain information, resources, and protection to facilitate global business. By employing a unique dataset on Japanese firms' connections with their home government, formed through the revolving-door hiring of Japanese bureaucrats, as well as a comprehensive firm census data collected by the Japanese government, we demonstrate that firms with revolving-door ties are more inclined to engage in FDI. In contrast to the literature focusing on firm-state relationships in destination markets or the advantages associated with nationalities, this research presents the continued significance of the ties between MNCs and home governments when investing abroad. Overall, this dissertation sheds light on the relationship between politics and information provided and used by IOs and MNCs. Given the pressing global challenges such as climate change, economic inequality, protectionism, and technology management, the politics of scientific and business information is ever more prominent for achieving international cooperation. This research contributes to an understanding of how information turns into power and vice versa in international contexts.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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