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Subsidizing American Corporate Expansion Abroad: Pitfalls in the Analysis of Public and Private Power

Joanne Gowa
World Politics
Vol. 37, No. 2 (Jan., 1985), pp. 180-203
DOI: 10.2307/2010142
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2010142
Page Count: 24
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Subsidizing American Corporate Expansion Abroad: Pitfalls in the Analysis of Public and Private Power
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Abstract

This analysis of the Eisenhower administration's attempts to change the corporate income tax code--initially to subsidize and later to curb American corporate expansion abroad--explores in microcosm the relationship of governmental and corporate power to postwar U.S. policy regarding private foreign investment by American corporations. The failure to control for variations in the intensity of the U.S. government's and the American MNCs' preferences across different historical contexts and policy issues is a serious omission in many studies in this field. Conclusions affirming any enduring distribution of power between public and private actors as determinants of U.S. policy regarding private capital exports are particularly vulnerable on this score. Sensitivity to the issues raised in the general literature on power analysis would enhance efforts to segregate and evaluate the relative weights of different variables in the determination of postwar U.S. foreign investment policy.

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