Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Admin


Business Administration



Committee Chair

Ben Kedia

Committee Member

Francis Fabian

Committee Member

Thomas Stafford

Committee Member

Peter Wright


The international business literature offers four primary reasons for firms moving parts of their value chain abroad: they desire access to markets, resources, efficiencies, or strategic assets. Despite suggestions by prominent scholars (e.g., Dunning) that there may be a fifth motive – the desire to escape from institutional settings that hinder a firm’s ability to achieve its goals – convincing evidence in support of this motive has been elusive. Current studies of escape-based internationalization tend to come from adjacent disciplines, and are usually conceptual in nature (thus providing no empirical support) or are qualitative, survey-based examinations (thus limiting generalizability and potentially over-relying on stated, versus revealed, preferences). Moreover, quantitative, empirical studies that do exist typically fail to control for the big four traditional motives (i.e., they examine covariates, control for non-motivational confounds, and then assume escape has occurred). In hopes of providing persuasive evidence in support of this fifth motive, I combine a natural experiment-based research design (to help control for omitted variables and reverse-causality) with predictions derived from behavioral decision-making theory (to disentangle traditional from escape-based motives). This allows me to provide quantitative, empirical evidence that accounts for traditional motives and is based on realized, as opposed to stated, preferences. I found that predicted relationship directions equaled actual directions for 24 hypotheses (18 were statistically significant) versus four where predicted and actual directions diverged (two were statistically significant). I thus conclude that escape-based internationalization does happen, with higher degrees of home-country institutional deterioration prompting quicker and more aggressive foreign investments.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.