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The History of Foreign Investment in the United States, 1914–1945

The History of Foreign Investment in the United States, 1914–1945

Mira Wilkins

ISBN 9780674013087

Publication date: 06/30/2004

Mira Wilkins, the foremost authority on foreign investment in the United States, continues her magisterial history in a work covering the critical years 1914–1945.

Wilkins includes all long-term inward foreign investments, both portfolio (by individuals and institutions) and direct (by multinationals), across such enterprises as chemicals and pharmaceuticals, textiles, insurance, banks and mortgage providers, other service sector companies, and mining and oil industries. She traces the complex course of inward investments, presents the experiences of the investors, and examines the political and economic conditions, particularly the range of public policies, that affected foreign investments. She also offers valuable discussions on the intricate cross-investments of inward and outward involvements and the legal precedents that had long-term consequences on foreign investment.

At the start of World War I, the United States was a debtor nation. By the end of World War II, it was a creditor nation with the strongest economy in the world. Integrating economic, business, technological, legal, and diplomatic history, this comprehensive study is essential to understanding the internationalization of the American economy, as well as broader global trends.


  • This book is breathtaking in scope and highly original. Mira Wilkins provides the first comprehensive account of foreign investment into the United States in the interwar years. In a literature which remains extremely focused on the domestic economy, Wilkins shows the importance of the business and capital relations between the United States and the rest of the world and confronts important assumptions about the nature of American 'exceptionalism.' This work is a major event in historical scholarship, of significance far beyond the business history community, where it will become an immediate classic. It will be widely welcomed.

    —Geoffrey Jones, Harvard Business School


  • 2005, Joint winner of the Hagley Prize in Business History


  • Mira Wilkins is Professor of Economics at Florida International University.

Book Details

  • 1008 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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