In 1966, Raymond Vernon published a model that described internationalisation patterns of organisations. He looked at how U.S. companies developed into multinational corporations (MNCs) at a time when these firms dominated global trade, and per capita income in the U.S. was, by far, the highest of all the developed countries.
Raymond Vernon was part of the team that overlooked the Marshall plan, the US investment plan to rejuvenate Western European economies after the Second World War. He played a central role in the post-world war development of the IMF and GATT organisations. He became a professor at Harvard Business School from 1959 to 1981 and continued his career at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
The intent of his International Product Life Cycle model (IPLC) was to advance trade theory beyond David Ricardo’s static framework of comparative advantages. In 1817, Ricardo came up with a simple economic experiment to explain the benefits to any country that was engaged in international trade even if it could produce all products at the lowest cost and would seem to have no need to trade with foreign partners. He showed that it was advantageous for a country with an absolute advantage in all product categories to trade and allow its work force to specialise in those categories with the highest added value. Vernon focused on the dynamics of comparative advantage and drew inspiration from the product life cycle to explain how trade patterns change over time. I. Description
The product life-cycle theory is an economic theory that was developed by Raymond Vernon in response to the failure of the Heckscher-Ohlin model to explain the observed pattern ofinternational trade. The theory suggests that early in a product's life-cycle all the parts and labor associated with that product come from the area in which it was invented. After the product becomes adopted and used in the world markets, production gradually moves away from the point of origin. In some situations, the product becomes an item that is imported by its original country of invention. A commonly used example of this is the invention, growth and production of the personal computer with respect to the United States. The model applies to labor-saving and capital-using products that (at least at first) cater to high-income groups. In the new product stage, the product is produced and consumed in the US; no export trade occurs. In the maturing product stage, mass-production techniques are developed and foreign demand (in developed countries) expands; the US now exports the product to other developed countries. In the standardized product stage, production moves to developing countries, which then export the product to developed countries. The model demonstrates dynamic comparative advantage. The country that has the comparative e production of the product changes from the innovating (developed) country to the developing countries. There are five stages in a product's life cycle:
Stage 1: Introduction
New products are introduced to meet local (i.e., national) needs, and new products are first exported to similar countries, countries with similar needs, preferences, and incomes. If we also presume similar evolutionary patterns for all countries, then products are introduced in the most advanced nations. (E.g., the IBM PCs were produced in the US and spread quickly throughout the industrialized countries.) Stage 2: Growth
A copy product is produced elsewhere and introduced in the home country (and elsewhere) to capture home market. This moves production to other countries, usually on the basis of cost of production. (E.g., the clones of the early IBM PCs were not produced in the US.) The Period till the Maturity Stage is known as the Saturation Period. Stage 3: Maturity
The industry contracts and concentrates—the lowest cost producer wins here. (E.g., the many clones of the PC are made almost entirely in lowest cost locations.) Stage 4: Saturation...
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