This paper provides an overview of the relationship between multinational corporations (MNCs) and local economic systems. It examines the implications of a decentralisation of innovative activity within MNCs for their interaction with local networks. It is shown that this interaction depends upon the type of cluster, whether a general centre of excellence or a specialised centre. These two principal kinds of cluster are associated with different structures of local knowledge spillovers between firms. Localised science-technology linkages offer a further category of interaction. It is shown how locational hierarchies may affect the locational strategies of MNCs when they disperse innovative activity.
Keywords: multinational corporations, MNC, clusters, locational hierarchies, knowledge spillovers, science-technology linkages