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The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade

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  • James R. Markusen

Abstract

This paper begins with a review of empirical evidence on multinational firms. Conceptual underpinnings of a theory are developed, relying in particular on the notion of knowledge capital as a mobile, joint input into geographically separated production facilities. This idea is embedded in a simple two-country general equilibrium model that supports multinational production in equilibrium under conditions consistent with the empirical evidence. The final section examines internalization and shows why certain properties of knowledge capital also imply a preference for transferring technologies internally within the firm, rather than through arm's-length markets.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 9 (1995)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 169-189

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:9:y:1995:i:2:p:169-89

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.9.2.169
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  1. Ignatius Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1987. "Licensing versus Direct Investment: A Model of Internalization by the Multinational Enterprise," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 20(3), pages 464-81, August.
  2. Williamson, Oliver E, 1981. "The Modern Corporation: Origins, Evolution, Attributes," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1537-68, December.
  3. Mathewson, G Frank & Winter, Ralph A, 1985. "The Economics of Franchise Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 503-26, October.
  4. repec:fth:michin:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Carlos, Ann M. & Nicholas, Stephen, 1990. "Agency Problems in Early Chartered Companies: The Case of the Hudson’s Bay Company," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(04), pages 853-875, December.
  6. Levinsohn, James A., 1989. "Strategic trade policy when firms can invest abroad: When are tariffs and quotas equivalent?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 129-146, August.
  7. S. Lael Brainard, 1993. "An Empirical Assessment of the Proximity-Concentration Tradeoff between Multinational Sales and Trade," NBER Working Papers 4580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Dick, Andrew R., 1993. "Strategic trade policy and welfare : The empirical consequences of cross-ownership," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3-4), pages 227-249, November.
  9. Carlos Ann M., 1994. "Bonding and the Agency Problem: Evidence from the Royal African Company, 1672-1691," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 313-335, July.
  10. Davidson, W H & McFetridge, Donald G, 1984. "International Technology Transactions and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 253-64, March.
  11. Edward M. Graham & Paul R. Krugman, 1993. "The Surge in Foreign Direct Investment in the 1980s," NBER Chapters, in: Foreign Direct Investment, pages 13-36 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Markusen, James R., 1984. "Multinationals, multi-plant economies, and the gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 205-226, May.
  13. Morck, Randall & Yeung, Bernard, 1991. "Why Investors Value Multinationality," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(2), pages 165-87, April.
  14. Morck, Randall & Yeung, Bernard, 1992. "Internalization : An event study test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 41-56, August.
  15. Mansfield, Edwin & Romeo, Anthony, 1980. "Technology Transfer to Overseas Subsidiaries by U.S.-Based Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 737-50, December.
  16. Blomstrom, Magnus & Lipsey, Robert E, 1991. " Firm Size and Foreign Operations of Multinationals," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(1), pages 101-07.
  17. S. Lael Brainard, 1993. "An Empirical Assessment of the Factor Proportions Explanation of Multi-National Sales," NBER Working Papers 4583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. > International Economics > Economics of FDI
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