Overall aim and research questions

How is Vienna’s position in the world system and did this position in the global city-hierachy changed since early 1990s? This research question will be discussed by analyzing a dataset of regionalized foreign direct investments (FDI), which has been developed in a cooperation with the Austrian Federal Bank. This dataset contains FDIs between Vienna and 148 urban regions between 1989 and 2005. Beside empirical outcomes, this research project wants to make a conceptual contribution towards global city-theory and the question, how the links in the global urban network shall be measured. It is an aim of this project to implement and discuss FDIs as an alternative indicator to measure a cities global connectivity.


The analysis of FDI flows between Vienna and other cities all over the world show a strong increase which goes hand in hand with an asymmetry of FDI flows. In early 1990s, most fdi-links to other cities were more or less balanced (same size of active and passive FDIs), while in 2000s, asymmetric relations dominate. These imbalanced FDI-flows show a clear spatial pattern: foreign capital in Vienna origns from the north-west European regions and North America, while FDIs from Vienna concentrate in Eastern Europa. For both cases, there are just little FDI-flows in the opposite direction. Further, Vienna has established as a capital-gateway between East and West: companies form Western Europe/North America use their subsidiaries in Vienna to invest in Eastern Europe; it is remarkable, that also companies from Eastern Europe use Vienna as a gateway to other countries (even if on a very limited scale).


Musil, R. (2012): Wien in der Weltwirtschaft. LIT-Verlag, Wien. 220 S. ISBN 978-3643504463

Musil, R. (2011): Wiener Direktinvestitionen in Mittel- und Südosteuropa. Atlas Ost- und Südost-europa, Blatt Nr. 3.6-G11. Borntraeger, Berlin-Stuttgart. 60 S. ISBN 3-443-28529-5

Musil, R. (2009): Global Capital Control and City Hierarchies. An Attempt to Reposition Vienna in a World City Network. In: Cities 26/5, S. 256-266. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2009.07.002

ISR-Project team


  • Österreichische Nationalbank (Dr. Rene DellMour)


January 2005 to August 2006


Stadt Wien, MA 7