We caught up with new IE professor Daniel Blake to see how he’s settling into life in Madrid and to get his thoughts on his area of expertise – non-market strategy.

Daniel Blake - IE Professor

Hello Daniel! You’ve recently joined IE. How are you finding everything so far?

Hi! Yes, I am quite new at IE having joined the Strategy Department in September and I am happy to say that I am greatly enjoying my new academic home.  I am also enjoying getting to know Madrid, which is a fantastic city.

What is your background?

I am half-Turkish, half-Australian, but I received my graduate training in the U.S.  I received my Ph.D. in Political Science at the Ohio State University, with specializations in International Politics and Political Economy. My doctoral research focused on the international legal environment for foreign direct investment and in particular its effects on investment policy in developing economies. I continued this research as a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University’s Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance.

And now you’ll be teaching with us at IE?

Yes, I’ll be teaching in the area of non-market strategy, where the core course is, “Business, Government and Society”. The course provides an excellent overview of factors beyond the market such as laws and regulations, political and institutional risks, and social and environmental issues that can affect firm performance.  The course takes a number of approaches, perhaps the most important of which is in class discussion of a variety of cases, which allow students to directly develop a keen awareness of non-market risks and opportunities, and debate the appropriate strategies for responding to them.

What brought you to IE specifically?

Although my academic background is not in management, the opportunity to join a business school, where there is a greater emphasis on the practical application of knowledge, was very attractive to me.  While this certainly holds true here, one thing that attracted me to IE in particular was the great international diversity of students and faculty.  I am particularly interested in cross-national differences in business-government relations and being at IE gives me a unique opportunity to learn from our students and their diverse professional experiences in different countries.

What do you see as the key issues today regarding the international institutional framework for foreign direct investment?

Good question. Three things in particular come to mind. First, there is growing interest in the effects of international legal institutions, such as bilateral investment treaties, on investor strategies and governments’ investment policies. These institutions have really only become prominent in the past 20 years, so we are just beginning to learn about the true nature and extent of their effects. Second, there has been some controversy regarding inconsistency in the decisions of international arbitration panels that have been commissioned to settle disputes between governments and foreign investors.  This inconsistency in the interpretation of governments’ treaty-based obligations to multinational firms inevitably creates challenges for businesses.  Finally, what I think will become a serious issue concerns the development of FDI policy in Europe under the Lisbon Treaty.  The Treaty appears to give greater authority to the EU in the area of investment regulation and liberalization, although it isn’t quite clear precisely what policy areas remain with individual states and which are now determined at the European level.   Going forward, this has the potential to create regulatory uncertainty for foreign investors in Europe.

Fascinating stuff Daniel! Thanks for your time!

Check out Professor Blake’s profile by clicking here.