The Baltic Region

2015 Issue №1(23)

Monotowns: A New Take on the Old Problem

Abstract

The authors of this paper propose an approach to studying risk management in the most vulnerable monotowns that would account for the relations between major stakeholders and use the tools developed in the framework of the new institutional economic theory. Having compared the existing definitions of the “monotown” concept, the authors present their own approach. They identify key reasons behind monotown vulnerability and systematize stakeholders’ risks. The authors then posit that a study of monotown- related issues would be incomplete without accounting for stakeholders’ interests and relations. Monotown problems become apparent in the context of institutional agreements carried out with high transition costs and increased risks of opportunistic behaviour encountered by the institutional agreement stakeholders. Solving these problems through the methods proposed in the article would help to identify a wider range of alternatives while still taking into account all the typical scenarios. The authors analyse the process of risk management in monotowns from the viewpoint of international practices; and identify structural alternatives of outweighing these risks by considering key relations affecting the implementation of each alternative.

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The Baltics in the Geography of the Largest Transnational Corporations of Europe

Abstract

The aim of this study is to examine the place of the Baltic States on the corporate world map, a contemporary, foreign-investment-driven alternative to the more familiar political map. To this end, the author studies the geographical place of the Baltics in the documentation of transnational corporations. The research database consists of financial reports and presentations of 60 leading European (including Russian) transnational corporations. Special attention is paid to companies from countries with significant FDI stock in the Baltic States. This study is a first step towards analyzing international investors’ interpretation of the new European borders. The connection between the neighborhood effect on FDI distribution and geographical segmentation in the corporate paperwork is established. Some companies use a multilevel division (e. g. Europe/Eastern Europe), where the Baltics is usually associated with “Europe” (with or without Russia and Turkey). However, in some cases the Baltic States are clustered u nder “home market” (as is the case with some Swedish companies), “former Soviet Union” (some Russian companies), “Northern Europe and Central Asia,” and even “Middle East and Eastern Europe." Varying understanding of where exactly th borders of Europe lie could explain the plurality of attitudes of the European business establishment to the EU sanctions against Russia.

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The Belarus Business Environment as Assessed by the Management of Leading Finnish Companies Operating in the Country

Abstract

Inward foreign investment stock has grown remarkably in Belarus. It increased tenfold since 2000 to reach over $14 billion by the end of 2012. According to the Central Bank of Belarus, Finnish firms have invested nearly $100 million in Belarus making Finland the sixteenth most active foreign investor in the country. Approximately 7,000 companies with foreign capital were registered in Belarus by the beginning of 2013. Finnish companies founded three dozen of these foreign firms. A lack of scientific reports on the perception of foreign businesspeople in the Belarusian business environment necessitated an empirical study. This article studies the attitudes of the directors of Finnish firms operating in Belarus on the Belarusian business environment. In September-October 2013, the author conducted interviews with directors of 10 Finnish corporations. The PEST model was used to describe the perception of the Belarusian business milieu by Finnish businesspeople. The main empirical finding can be summarised by quoting a Finnish CEO, “Belarus is like any other market on the globe with the exception that foreign firms do not want to attract publicity about their activities in the country due to the poor public image of Belarus.”

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