The Home-based Advantages and a Hierarchy of Location Advantages: Foreign and British-owned Firms in the London Wholesale Insurance Market
insurance, London, nationality of ownership, MNE internal transfers
This study seeks to explain why, in some cases, locationally advantageous countries attract foreign firms, who develop dominant competitive positions in the market, rather than facilitate the development of internationally competitive national firms, as theory suggests. Comparative analyses of samples of foreign and British-owned insurance firms in the London wholesale insurance market are used to establish a hierarchy of location advantages in terms of their competitive importance. It is shown that foreign affiliates compensate for their liability in accessing Britain’s location advantages by accessing resources via the MNE internal networks. Their competitive strength is based primarily on such resources. The contributions of the findings to the conceptualisation of the MNE as an internal network within an external network, and the potential substitution of internal and external resources, are discussed. The implications for the theory of the national origin of the competitive advantages of MNEs are outlined.