Dissertation Abstracts

Internationalization of Brazilian Companies: Strategies, Determinants and Industrial Policy Alternatives

Author: Zalaf Caseiro, Luiz C, luiz.caseiro@usp.br
Department: Department of Sociology
University: University of São Paulo, Brazil
Supervisor: Glauco Arbix
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: Portuguese

Keywords: socioeconomic development , transnational companies , Brazilian OFDI , industrial policy
Areas of Research: Social Transformations and Sociology of Development , Economy and Society , Political Sociology


After economic liberalization, Brazilian companies from several sectors initiated or expanded their internationalization processes. This trend became more pronounced after 2004, when Brazilian outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) experienced unprecedented growth. The recent international expansion, however, differs from past experiences not only in the volume of investments, but in their scope and content, covering an increasing number of countries and sectors. This dissertation provides a detailed description of the internationalization process of 148 Brazilian transnational companies (TNCs) from 1994 to 2012, with particular emphasis on their sectoral composition and the geographical location of their OFDI projects. Through quantitative and qualitative analyses, this research challenges the popular claim in the academic literature that the internationalization of Brazilian companies has been restricted to commodity-intensive sectors and concentrated in Latin America. By revealing the correlations between different sectors of economic activity with their international insertion strategies, we demonstrate that Brazilian companies from technology-intensive sectors seek internationalization primarily in the largest and most dynamic markets of the world in order strengthen ties with customers and gain access to new knowledge and technologies. Additionally, this dissertation seeks to overcome the limitations of the international business perspective prevalent in the academic literature on the topic; it does so by investigating the external determinants of the recent intensification of Brazilian OFDI using an interdisciplinary approach. This research historically contextualizes the internationalization of Brazilian TNCs from the 1970s to the present, analyzing in detail the impacts of the changing geography of international production, the diffusion of new technologies as well as the impact of macroeconomic and political factors on Brazilian OFDI. This perspective contributions to a better understanding of recent internationalization of Brazilian companies; it also introduces new industrial policy implications.