Law School receives Sloan Foundation grant to study international role of corporations

Oct 19, 2006

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded Vanderbilt Law School a grant of $609,500 to fund a two-year study examining the international role of American corporations.

The study’s principal investigators, who include Law & Business professors Margaret Blair, Randall Thomas and Bob Thompson, international legal scholar Larry Helfer and Erin O’Hara, whose scholarship addresses choice of laws, plan to pursue a series of projects over the next few years that analyze transnational corporations as providers and improvisers of governance arrangements. Three projects will explore how the boundaries of firms are determined, three will explore how relations within firms are governed in a global environment, and one will begin the work of identifying and assessing factors that may serve to constrain corporate behavior of firms that operate in a global environment.

"American corporations with global operations are an important avenue by which U.S. culture, values, business and legal norms and practices, and technology are being spread throughout the world," said Professor Blair. "The pace of globalization in trade, travel and communications is accelerating so fast that even small to mid-sized corporations are likely to operate in more than one country. So we believe that it’s no longer possible to understand the social and economic role of American corporations without understanding their role as global players. The funding provided by the Sloan Foundation will enable us to pursue several projects aimed at examining the roles transnational corporations play globally."

"I’m delighted to announce that the law school has received this generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation," Dean Edward L. Rubin said. "We believe this research will help to establish a new framework for academic and policy discourse about the roles global corporations play in trade, in politics within and between countries, and in influencing the development of a variety of business institutions, norms, and policies in the U.S., and in international law."

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic nonprofit organization that funds research initiatives that address the roles and impact of business organizations, science and technology, education and other issues.

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