The Growth of Transnational Corporate Networks: 1962-1998


  • Jeffrey Kentor University of Utah



This is a study of the growth of organizational power in the world-economy over the past forty years. It takes the position that transnational corporations (TNCs) are increasingly significant actors in the world-economy, independent of the nation-states within which they are located. The goal of this work is to identify the expansion, spatial distribution, and concentration of this global power over time, and to consider its impact on the global economy. The TNC networks are identified by locating the headquarters and foreign subsidiaries of the world?s 100 largest manufacturing corporations in 1962, 1971, 1983, 1991 and 1998. The distribution of ownership and location of these foreign subsidiaries are examined, both globally and bilaterally. I find high levels of concentration in ownership of these global networks that decrease over time, in contrast to a high degree of dispersion in the location of these linkages. U.S. corporations are clearly the dominant actors from 1962 to 1971 but decline dramatically through 1998, while Japanese and Western European TNC control over transnational networks grows significantly over this period. An empirical measure of economic dominance in the global economy is also presented.




How to Cite

Kentor, J. (2005). The Growth of Transnational Corporate Networks: 1962-1998. Journal of World-Systems Research, 11(2), 263–286.



Globalizations from ‘Above’ and ‘Below’: the Future of World Society