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York conference debates multinational corporations’ response to Scottish independence

Posted on 26 March 2014

A panel of experts will examine the implications of Scottish independence for foreign direct investment and the likely response of multinational a groundbreaking event hosted by the York Management School at the University of York.

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As part of the Academy of International Business (UK & Ireland) Annual Conference, top academics from across the UK and Ireland will debate ‘Independence for Scotland? Multinational Corporations and Scottish Independence’ on Friday, 11 April.

Conference Chair and Host, Professor Annie Wei from the Leeds University Business School and formerly of the York Management School, said: “There has been a lot of debate on the possible economic effects of Scottish independence. The most recent have focused on the currency in an independent Scotland, and consideration of possible changes in taxation and government budgets and their likely implications. However, the possible responses of multinational corporations have yet to be explicitly discussed.

“As with the rest of the UK, Scotland depends on the activities of multinational corporations for a large part of economic activity, both in terms of Scottish multinational corporations and multinational corporations in Scotland. The reactions of these corporations to independence in terms of location of their various operations, and for investment in new ventures and developing existing operations would therefore exert significant influence on the likely effects on jobs, incomes and government budgets in an independent Scotland.”

The panel will debate key issues such as: Would independence encourage or discourage new investments by multinational corporations? Are multinationals likely to relocate important activities such as research and development and other high valued added activities away from, or into, Scotland? Would multinational corporations with headquarters in Scotland move them to other locations with a larger economy following independence?

These and other questions will be discussed by Professor Brad Mackay, from the University of Edinburgh and an Economic and Social research Council (ESRC) Fellow on the Future of the UK and Scotland, and Professor Stephen Young, from the University of Glasgow.

Experts from other universities, including Aston, Reading and University College Dublin will use the experiences of the separatist movement in Quebec, and the experience of Ireland to consider the major likely influences on the operations of multinational corporations in Scotland if it became a small independent country.

The 41st Academy of International Business (UK & Ireland) Conference will be held at the York Management School from 10 to 12 April 2014. This year’s conference theme is ‘Achieving a New Balance? The Rise of Multinationals from Emerging Economies and the Prospects for Established Multinationals’.

The conference is hosted and chaired by the York Management School, Professor Wei and Professor Frank McDonald from the University of Bradford.

More information on the 41st Academy of International Business (UK & Ireland) Conference is available at

For further information, or to attend ‘The Independence for Scotland?’ debate, please email

Notes to editors:

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Caron Lett
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