A bargaining and property rights perspective on the Belt and Road Initiative: Cases from the Italian port system

Cristian Luise, Peter J. Buckley, Hinrich Voss, Emmanuella Plakoyiannaki, Elisa Barbieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Infrastructural assets are vital for a country’s economic and social development. Governments typically provide the regulation and administration of these assets, while multinational enterprises (MNEs) develop, construct, finance, and operate them. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) promises infrastructure projects that deliver economic and social benefit for both the host country and the MNE, however, the foreign market entry activities of Chinese MNEs in infrastructure projects might not always be successful. By bridging the bargaining power literature with the economics of property rights perspective, we examine how and why host-country actors at different governance levels influence foreign direct investment. Using a comparative case study approach, we interrogate four attempts by Chinese firms to negotiate access to Italian ports. In particular, we show that for a BRI port investment to take place, there has to be an alignment between the various actors of the property rights nexus regarding the allocation of rights. Chinese investors need to understand the bargaining position and property rights of actors across multiple levels, across space, and be mindful of changes over time when negotiating an infrastructure investment. Host-country governments need to have a clear port infrastructure strategy to avoid wasting resources in lengthy negotiations and useless infrastructure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172
Number of pages193
JournalJournal of International Business Policy
Early online date25 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Structured keywords

  • MGMT Strategy International Management and Business and Entrepreneurship


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