McDonald’s as an engine of economic development

With all the criticism of fast food and their companies in recent years, it’s nice to see some nuanced research on the economic value of these companies. This article on the benefits of McDonald’s to developing nation economies is one of the most downloaded articles from the academic journal, the Global Economy Journal. Here’s the abstract:

McDonald’s — Much Maligned, But an Engine of Economic Development Adrian E. Tschoegl, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Abstract Critics have excoriated the US fast-food industry in general, and McDonald’s most particularly, both per se and as a symbol of the United States. However, examining McDonald’s internationalization and development abroad suggests that McDonald’s and the others of its ilk are sources of development for mid-range countries. McDonald’s brings training in management, encourages entrepreneurship directly through franchises and indirectly through demonstration effects, creates backward linkages that develop local suppliers, fosters exports by their suppliers, and has positive external effects on productivity and standards of service, cleanliness, and quality in the host economies. Recommended Citation Tschoegl, Adrian E. (2007) “McDonald’s — Much Maligned, But an Engine of Economic Development,” Global Economy Journal: Vol. 7 : Iss. 4, Article 5. Available at:

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.