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Business group prevalence and impact across countries and over time: what can we learn from the literature.

Carney, Michael, Van Essen, Marc, Estrin, Saul ORCID: 0000-0002-3447-8593 and Shapiro, Daniel (2017) Business group prevalence and impact across countries and over time: what can we learn from the literature. Multinational Business Review, 25 (1). pp. 52-76. ISSN 1525-383X

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Identification Number: 10.1108/MBR-10-2016-0037


The business groups (BGs) literature has previously focused on the financial performance of its affiliates, relative to non-affiliated firms in the same country. However, when we consider the main predictions of the two theoretical perspectives on BGs, the institutional voids (IV) and entrenchment/exploitation view (EE), both rely to a significant extent on propositions about BG prevalence. Yet, surprisingly, there are almost no empirical studies that explore levels, impacts and time paths of prevalence. In this study, we therefore focus on BG prevalence both across countries and over time. We build a unique database by extracting estimates of BG prevalence for multiple countries between 1978 and 2012 from the existing literature, and use this to test conflicting predictions derived from the IV and EE perspectives respectively. We find no consistent evidence that BG prevalence diminishes over time with economic development, as institutional voids diminish, which is predicted by the IV perspective. Instead, the long term persistence of BGs in many countries appears to be more consistent with the EE perspective. However, we also find no support for the view that high levels of BG prevalence are negatively associated with country-level indicators and determinants of economic development and competitiveness, as suggested by that perspective. We conclude that there is no robust support for either the IV or the EE view and highlight the need for more contextualised theorizing about the evolution of BGs.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2016 12:27
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:27

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