Abstract: Foreign Direct Investment and the Business Environment: The Argentine Experience, 1862-1950

Andrea Lluch and Norma Lanciotti


The paper presents a general overview of the flows of Foreign Direct Investment in Argentina until 1950. Before the Great Depression, Argentina qualified as one of the most dynamic economies, attracting a record volume of foreign investment. Economic history literature has mainly pointed out the close economic relationship between Britain and Argentina and the role of British direct investment. However, the role of American and continental European multinationals has not been analyzed in depth. Focusing on the foreign firms doing business in Argentina (in terms of sectors and origins), we identify the activities of the pioneer European companies, followed by the American multinationals after the 1900s. We also analyze the business strategies that companies used to adapt to changing local economic and political contexts from 1860 to 1950. Based on official sources, trade reports, business press, and company records, the paper seeks to contribute to wider debates over the strategies and the role of foreign companies in host economies. The paper also aims at reviewing business-government relations in Latin America.