Are Multinationals Really Bigger Than Nations?
Paul De Grauwe
& Filip Camerman
Published: June 2003
Multinational corporations are increasingly seen as excessively big and powerful,
and as having dramatically increased in size and power. This perception has led
to the view that the big corporations are threatening democratic institutions of
the nation-states and that they pervert the cultural and social fabric of countries.
In this article the authors analyse the size of large corporations and the recent
trends in this size. Using value-added data (instead of sales) they find that
multinationals are surprisingly small compared to the GDP of many nation-states.
They find no evidence that the size of multinationals relative to the size of
nations has tended to increase during the last 20 years and argue that there is
little evidence that the economic and political power of multinationals has
increased in the last few decades.