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Vacant PhD Scholarship: Local governments, global talent, and multinational firms: Winners and losers in the international competition for foreign direct investments

Copenhagen Business School


Copenhagen Business School (CBS) invites ambitious applications for a vacant PhD scholarship at the Department of Strategic Management and Globalization (SMG).

This is one of seven positions in a PhD cohort focused on the theme: ‘‘Multinational corporations (MNCs) in the age of anti-globalization”. Compared to the 1980s, where MNCs flourished due to the neo-liberal turn that embraced globalization, and which did bring dynamism, wealth and leadership practices across the globe, the 2010s are characterized by increased skepticism towards globalization. This skepticism arises from increased inequality, but also technological innovation, whereby blue-collar workers are increasingly becoming redundant. It has for instance expressed itself in the populist revolt that underpinned the 2016 US presidential election and Brexit and it seems that the neoliberal order is now being reconfigured, with a greater focus on nationalism and national interests. There is also an increased focus on the behavior and strategies of MNCs. These issues are being addressed by governments, the EU and international organizations (IOs) such as the UN. Thus, the aim of this PhD cohort is on the one hand, to focus on the current global challenges MNCs face, which types of strategies they adopt in response, and in what way they organize their activities, and on the other hand what the responses of IOs and governments are and what these response imply for the strategies of MNCs. Academic research on this question can generate new insights into the relationship between firm-level decision-making by MNCs, in relation to international organizations, the EU and governments and the increasingly anti-global environment they all operate in.

The title of the PhD project is “Local governments, global talent, and multinational firms: Winners and losers in the international competition for foreign direct investments”. Foreign direct investment, in the form of establishment of subsidiaries by multinational firms, is often considered an important catalyst of the economic development of recipient locations by means of increased growth, employment, and innovation. Accordingly, a large body of research in international economics and strategy has examined how multinational firms choose locations for their foreign direct investments. Much of this literature has portrayed these location choices as rational responses to exogenous conditions that are external to the firm, such as existing government policies and the geographic dispersion and concentration of human capital.

In reality, however, these external conditions are themselves endogenous. Local governments make decisions in anticipation of responses from firms and global talent masses, and human capital agglomerates in certain locations based on the presence of firms and the nature of local policies. Hence, multinational firms cannot expect to make location decisions against a static landscape, but rather must take into account their expectations not only of other firms’ reactions (including the location choices of competitors, suppliers, and customers) but also about the decisions of local policy makers and geographically mobile workers.

The aim of this PhD project is to examine how this complex strategic interaction plays out, and what the consequences are for the firms, locations, and workers involved. Does it make “all boats rise”, with global competition inducing improvements in welfare, wages, and performance, or does it merely lead to a “race to the bottom” where locations underbid each other on fleeting institutional qualities (such as taxes, environmental standards, or working conditions)? Do the benefits of foreign investment and high-skilled migration spill over to adjacent or even more distant locations, or does globalization merely increase geographic inequality by draining some locations for investment and talent, which in turn agglomerates in other locations (such as global cities industrial clusters)?

The PhD candidate will deploy various theoretical perspectives, including formal modeling and game theory, and advanced econometrics applied to register data, to answer questions such as (but not limited to) these. The ideal candidate should:

  • Have a quantitative background;
  • Be able to demonstrate or rapidly acquire excellent mathematical skills (in particular in algebra and calculus);
  • Be able to demonstrate or rapidly acquire excellent abilities in compiling and managing large, complex datasets;
  • Have strong communication and writing skills
  • Have excellent abilities in reading, synthesizing and reflecting on various theoretical literatures with relevance for the project; and
  • Demonstrate intrinsic motivation to do high quality research, as well as perseverance for succeeding in a demanding PhD project.

To fulfill the research and teaching requirements of the position, the applicant chosen is expected to be physically present on a regular basis and to actively participate in the daily life of the Department.

The Department will give priority to applicants with high grades from leading universities.

The three-year PhD programme at CBS allows you to conduct research under the supervision of CBS professors, supported by research training courses. The programme is highly international, and you are expected to participate in international research conferences and to spend time abroad as a visiting PhD student. See the CBS homepage for more information about the PhD programme, It is also required that the applicant shows an interest in joining the Department’s research environment, see

CBS PhD graduates are held in high esteem not only in academia and research institutions but also in government and business where their research qualifications are increasingly demanded. One third of CBS PhD graduates go on to employment outside universities and public research institutions.

Copenhagen Business School has a broad commitment to the excellence, distinctiveness and relevance of its teaching and research programmes. Candidates who wish to join us should demonstrate enthusiasm for working in an organisation of this type (highlighting, for example, relevant business, educational and dissemination activities).

For further information please contact: For questions about the specific project MSO Professor Christian Geisler Asmussen, e-mail: and for broader questions Head of Department Professor Michael Mol, email: Information about the department may be found at

Appointment and salary will be in accordance with the Ministry of Finance’s agreement with the Central Academic Organisation.

General information:
The host department: SMG employs an international group of 13 full-time faculty members, as well as several part-timers, postdocs and PhD students. The core research and teaching area of the Department is strategic and international management. This includes themes like the creation and implementation of global strategies, HQ-subsidiary relations, offshoring and internationalization of firms, the role of individuals and teams in knowledge-based competitive advantage, strategic entrepreneurship, strategic alliances, and the impact of informal and formal structures on firm performance and innovation. Over the past five years CBS ranks 20th in the world for research output published in Strategic Management Journal and 1st in the world for research output published in Journal of International Business Studies, the leading specialist outlets in SMG’s domain. SMG faculty have received many research awards from the AoM, AIB, and SMS. They also serve in various governance roles in these organizations and in editor and editorial board roles at leading journals. SMG faculty teach core and elective courses in strategic and international management at all levels, including bachelors, masters, PhD, and (executive) MBA programs, and the department is strongly committed to course development and innovative teaching. The quality standard of teaching at the department is high.

The position
A PhD scholarship runs for a period of 3 years, and includes teaching obligations equivalent of ½ year’s work (840 work hours). The scholarship is a fully salaried position, according to the national Danish collective agreement. The scholarship includes the tuition fees, office space, travel grants, plus a salary, currently starting with per month DKK 23,770 (approx. 3,160 euro) up to DKK 28,964 (approx. 3,860 euro) depending on seniority, plus a pension contribution totalling 17.1 % of 85 % of the base salary. The salary level and appointment is determined by the Ministry of Finance’s collective agreement with the Central Academic Organisation. The PhD student will be enrolled at the PhD School in Economics and Management

To be considered, the candidate should have a basic training at the Masters level (similar to the 3 + 2 Bologna process). An educational background in the social sciences is necessary. The applicant must have successfully completed the Master’s degree before commencing on PhD studies at CBS. The applicants must be fluent in English.

The application (see link below) must include a 5-page project description. This research proposal should contain a presentation of an original research question, a description of the initial theoretical framework and methodology, a presentation of the suggested empirical material as well as a work-plan.

In addition to the research proposal, the application must include:
  • copies of a Master’s degree certificate or other certificates of a corresponding level,
  • brief curriculum vitae (CV),
  • a list of papers and publications, and
  • one copy of a selected written work (e.g. Master’s thesis).

Applicants must enclose documentation for English language skills. Documentation of GRE and/or GMAT scores is strongly encouraged. For submitting GMAT scores, look up Copenhagen Business School in the GMAC register and choose the PhD Program.

A committee of experts in the field in question will assess the applications. The assessment of the applicants will be based on the quality and relevance of the project, including an evaluation of the applicant’s ability to accomplish it. Following this assessment, the management of the department will select the winners of the scholarships.

Recruitment procedure
The Recruitment Committee expects to shortlist at least two-five applicants to be assessed by the Assessment Committee. All applicants will be notified of their status in the recruitment process shortly after the application deadline.

Applicants selected for assessment will be notified about the composition of the Assessment Committee and later in the process about the result of the assessment.

Once the recruitment process is completed each applicant will be notified of the outcome of their application.

Please find guidelines and further information on scholarships and the Doctoral Programme at

Closing date: 1 June 2017 23:59:59 CET

Application must be sent via the electronic recruitment system, using the link below.

Copenhagen Business School must receive all application material, including all appendices (see items above), by the application deadline.

Details about Copenhagen Business School and the department are available at

Praktisk information
Forskning og udvikling
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