26 Oct 2018


Setting the Future Investment Research Agenda

The UNCTAD Academic Network on Investment convenes scholars of international business, economics, law and other relevant fields for a day-long multi-disciplinary academic conference. Co-organized in partnership with the Academy of International Business (AIB) and the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL), discussions will explore emerging trends for future research in investment and multinational enterprise. The conference event will produce a “Future Investment Research Agenda” and identify a list of opportunities for collaboration between researchers and UNCTAD’s Investment and Enterprise Division. It will centre on key themes that are expected to shape the international business and development landscape in the coming years.

Issues for the debate:

  • The digital economy and the new industrial revolution are fundamentally changing the way firms operate internationally. Can existing theories of international business, from OLI to GVCs, still fully explain current trends in international production?
  • What is the latest thinking among scholars on the implications of the new era of globalization for global investment patterns and financial flows? What is their prognosis for policy directions?
  • How are scholars of international law approaching the increasing concentration of value in few large digital MNEs, and the fiscal implications of digital GVCs?
  • What are the key emerging challenges and opportunities for research and policy analysis on investment and development?


Academic Conference Programme

Session 1: Explaining today’s global investment and international production trends

9:00 – 10:30 26 OCT 2018

Introductory keynote, panel discussion, Q&A

The World Investment Report 2018 documents a slowdown in the growth of international production and global value chains and a shift in the cross-border operations of multinational enterprises from tangible to intangible forms, with important implications for the development impact of investment. How does recent academic research explain these fundamental trends, and what are key outstanding questions for researchers?


Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez

Sarianna M. Lundan

Tomas Hult

Ugo Panizza

Session 2: Global value chains, the digital economy and the new industrial revolution

11:00 – 12:30 26 OCT 2018

Introductory keynote, panel discussion, Q&A

The digital economy and the new industrial revolution are fundamentally changing the way firms operate internationally. The adoption of new technologies at all stages of production can bring transformative changes in the composition and governance of global value chains. What are the implications for theories of international business, and what are key research questions for broader investment-for-development fields, such as development studies, tax and investment law?


Panel 2 – Global Value Chains, the Digital Economy and the New Industrial Revolution

Session 3: Meet the editors of Transnational Corporations and the Journal of International Business Policy

13:00 – 14:00 26 OCT 2018

Journal presentations, Q&A

Rapidly evolving trends in international production and global value chains with important implications for sustainable development and economic growth have increased demand for academically rigorous research to inform policy dialogue.  UNCTAD’s TNC Journal and the AIB’s JIBP specifically aim to further policy-oriented research in the area of investment and multinational enterprise. Editors will present their journal and answer questions from the scholarly community.


JIBP Presentation

TNCJ – Meet the Editors Presentation

Session 4: Investment and tax trends and policy developments

14:00 – 15:30 26 OCT 2018

Introductory keynote, panel discussion, Q&A

Significant reform efforts are ongoing in international tax policy, with important implications for the operating environment of MNEs. Parallels can be drawn between reform processes in international tax and investment policy regimes. Developments in national tax and investment laws are also having significant impact on global investment patterns. Tax and investment policy reforms are adding to existing transformative pressures on GVCs. How can scholars in the area of tax and investment law and experts on GVCs collaborate to generate new policy insights?

The Role of Tax Certainty in Promoting Sustainable and Inclusive Growth

Concluding session: elements for the research agenda on investment for development

15:30 – 16:00 26 OCT 2018

Wrap up by the Chair and closing debate


Presentation Prof. Buckley


In partnership with:

Event Manager: Mr. Shin Ohinata
Contact email:

Dr. William Byrnes

Texas A&M University Law

Dr. Tomas Hult

The Byington Endowed Chair, Professor of Marketing and International Business

Dr. Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez

Professor of Management at Universidad EAFIT (Colombia)

Dr. Xiaolan Fu

Founding Director of the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD), Professor of Technology and International Development and Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford

Ms. Nathalie Bravo

LL.M. Research Associate, Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law

Dr. Ugo Panizza

Professor of Economics, Pictet Chair in Finance and Development, The Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland

Dr. Tony Addison

Chief Economist/Deputy Director of the United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) in Helsinki, Finland

Dr. Sarianna Lundan

Chair in International Management and Governance Faculty of Business Studies and Economics University of Bremen, Germany

Dr. Rodrigo Polanco

World Trade Institute - University of Bern / University of Lucerne

ms. Niraja Srinivasan

Vice President – Global Tax/Transfer Pricing, Dell Technologies

Dr. Gabriel R.G. Benito

PhD, Norwegian School of Economics NHH

Dr. Peter J. Buckley

Professor of International Business and Founder Director of the Business Confucius Institute, University of Leeds

Dr. Jeffrey Owens

Director, Vienna University Global Tax Policy Center, former Director OECD Tax Center

Dr. Lorraine Eden

Professor of Management at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, USA