Abstract: Evolution of Political Strategies of Foreign Multinational Corporations in Latin America: General Trends During the Twentieth Century

Marcelo Bucheli


In this paper I study the dominant political strategies of foreign multinational corporations when operating in Latin America during the twentieth century. I use the typologies developed by scholars studying corporate political activity and political economy of foreign direct investment to define what kind of political strategies the multinationals followed, when, and where. I argue that the kind of political strategy used by the companies was determined by the industry in which they operated and the type of political regime of the host country. These strategies were also determined by the continental-wide trends in economic policy, from specialization in export of primary goods (1870s-1914/29), import substitution industrialization (1914/29-1970s), privatization and globalization (1980s-1990s), and new protectionism (2000s). I illustrate these strategies with particular cases in the extractive and manufacturing industries.