Are Multinationals Really Bigger Than Nations?

• Author(s): Paul De Grauwe & Filip Camerman • Published: June 2003
• Pages in paper: 16


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.

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