Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Paul W. Beamish


A foreign subsidiary’s performance depends on its ability to manage the institutional context of its resource decisions. In response to the evolving institutional contexts facilitated by economic liberalization, MNEs have dramatically increased their ownership levels in their FDIs in some emerging economies. Nevertheless, the international business field has yet to sufficiently understand the consequent performance of those FDIs with increasingly higher MNE ownership levels. To address this gap, this dissertation is guided by three research questions. First, how does economic liberalization influence an MNE’s ownership choice in an emerging economy? Second, how does economic liberalization change the relationship between an MNE’s equity ownership and its subsidiary’s profitability? Third, how does economic liberalization influence a foreign subsidiary’s survival?

Utilizing a multi-theoretic lens, this dissertation investigates these questions by comparing Japanese investments from 1990 to 2009 in China, the largest emerging economy, and in the United States, the largest advanced economy.

The dissertation is organized as a collection of three integrated essays. Essay 1 investigates how economic liberalization and subsidiary experience influence an MNE’s ownership choice. Essay 2 examines the evolving relationship between MNE ownership level and subsidiary profitability. Essay 3 examines the survival of a foreign subsidiary under the conditions of economic liberalization, and the relationship between MNE ownership level and subsidiary survival. This dissertation provides a detailed picture of MNE ownership and subsidiary performance under the condition of economic liberalization.