April 5th, 2012
11:25 AM ET

Are U.S. multinationals abandoning America?

Editor's Note: Laura Tyson, a former chair of the U.S. President's Council of Economic Advisers, is a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. For more from Rogoff, visit Project Syndicate's excellent new website or follow it on Facebook and Twitter

By Laura Tyson, Project Syndicate

At a recent conference in Washington, DC, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said that US policymakers should focus on productive activities that take place in the United States and employ American workers, not on corporations that are legally registered in the US but locate production elsewhere. He cited research by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who, more than 20 years ago, warned that as US multinational companies shifted employment and production abroad, their interests were diverging from the country’s economic interests.

It is easy to agree with Summers and Reich that national economic policy should concentrate on US competitiveness, not on the well-being of particular companies. But their sharp distinction between the country’s economic interests and the interests of US multinational companies is misleading. FULL POST

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Topics: Business • Economy • United States