Abstract: National Business Systems and Foreign Multinationals: The Changing Connections among the State, Entrepreneurs, and Foreign Investors in Italy and Spain during the Second Half of the Twentieth Century

Veronica Binda


Connections among foreign investments and national business systems take very different shapes over time and space. The empirical evidence gathered on Italy and Spain proves that a particular kind of connection, the joint venture between foreign investors and local entrepreneurship, represented a quite frequent phenomenon in both countries during the twentieth century. Nevertheless, joint ventures have been the favorite option of interaction only in a well-defined place and period: the years of the Francoist dictatorship in Spain. Among the reasons that can explain this phenomenon, the different legal context that countersigned the Spanish dictatorial regime represents a key point. But this interpretation is not enough. In order to understand it effectively, some fundamental factors—the particular social and cultural features of the country that hosted the investments, the attitude toward risk of foreign investors, and the fact that the partnership with the state, the banks, and private entrepreneurship represented, in a context of dictatorship, relative economic isolation, and industrial backwardness, a winning tool to get notable competitive advantages—cannot be neglected.