• political resources;
  • government;
  • first mover advantages;
  • resource-based view;
  • transition economies;
  • international business


While the currently prevailing conceptual framework of first mover advantages (FMAs) specifies various market mechanisms through which first movers can gain pioneering benefits, it is incomplete by failing to consider the role of political resources in creating FMAs. In this context, this article aims to add the political mechanism to the current classification of FMA mechanisms. The article further serves as a window to an understanding of the long-term process of acquiring, sustaining, and exploiting firm-specific political resources in international business, which has been neglected in prior studies on business–government relations. Detailed analysis of three case studies suggests that the causal relationship between political resources and FMAs is a complex one; while non-market strategies can be used successfully by first movers, they can also be used by late movers to neutralize FMAs. The article proposes a model for understanding the link between FMAs and political resources. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.