• competitive advantage;
  • institutions;
  • foreign direct investment;
  • multinational corporations;
  • international strategy

Is there such a thing as institutional advantage—and what does it mean for the study of corporate competitive advantage? In this article, I develop the concept of institutional competitive advantage, as distinct from plain competitive advantage and from comparative institutional advantage. I first identify and synthesize insights from strategy and institutional theories. I then arrive at a definition of institutional advantage and develop theory about its predictors, emphasizing a firm's interaction with institutions over its life cycle. This analysis highlights foreign direct investment and multinational enterprise as prime venues for insights into institutional advantage from a strategic perspective.