Expropriations of foreign property and political alliances: A business historical approach

Marcelo Bucheli, Stephanie D Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper proposes a classification of government expropriations of foreign property based on the types of alliances sought out by governments in their quest for support for those actions. Based on a review of historical literature and social science studies of expropriations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America in the twentieth century, we define three types of alliances: with organized labor; with domestic business owners or with sections of the civil service or the ruling party. We posit that each sector allying itself with the government expects rewards from the expropriation. We maintain that the type of alliance is determined by several factors, in particular, the longevity and legitimacy of the nation-state of the expropriating country; the strength of organized labor; and the political participation and strength of the domestic business sector. Our framework complements existing studies explaining when and why expropriations take place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-284
Number of pages38
JournalEnterprise and Society
Issue number1
Early online date28 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

The final publication will be available via Cambridge Journals Online at https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/enterprise-and-society


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