Commenting on Jones and Khanna, we suggest that international business (IB) needs simultaneously maturing theory and on-going rigorous empirical work. We advocate careful data collection and develop solid theory based on the rich empirical information. The difficulty in the process is the deciphering of causality, and that is where historical studies play a significant role. Historical documents shed light on motivations and exogenous incidents. Historical studies and large-scale data analyses can complement each other in revealing causality. While path dependence constraints causal inferences using cross-sectional data, historical studies can identify differences and similarities in the paths of events across geography and time. This advantage is particularly attractive in understanding the relationship between institutions and business behaviour, which lies inside the proper domain of IB studies.
historical studies methodology long-term view and integrated approach