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Physical capital, knowledge capital, and the choice between FDI and outsourcing

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  • Yongmin Chen
  • Ignatius J. Horstmann
  • James R. Markusen

Abstract

There exist two approaches in the literature concerning the multinational firm's mode choice for foreign production between an owned subsidiary and a licensing contract. One approach considers environments where the firm transfers primarily knowledge-based assets and assumes that knowledge is non-excludable. A more recent approach takes the property-right view of the firm and assumes that physical capital is fully excludable. This paper combines both forms of capital assets in a single model. There are subtleties, and added structure is needed to establish what ex ante seems a straightforward testable hypothesis: relatively physical-capital-intensive firms choose outsourcing while relatively knowledge-capital-intensive firms choose FDI.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 45 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-15

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:45:y:2012:i:1:p:1-15

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References

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  1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Wilfred J. Ethier & James R. Markusen, 1991. "Multinational Firms, Technology Diffusion and Trade," NBER Working Papers 3825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Glass, Amy Jocelyn & Saggi, Kamal, 2002. " Multinational Firms and Technology Transfer," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(4), pages 495-513, December.
  4. Morck, R. & Yeung, B., 1991. "Why Investors Value Multinationality," Working Papers 282, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  5. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  6. 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.
  7. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," NBER Working Papers 9945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. repec:fth:michin:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 729-761, May.
  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. Andrea Fosfuri & Massimo Motta & Thomas Ronde, 1998. "Foreign direct investments and spillovers through workers' mobility," Economics Working Papers 258, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  12. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, December.
  13. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
  14. Antras, Pol, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," Scholarly Articles 3196328, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Morck, Randall & Yeung, Bernard, 1992. "Internalization : An event study test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 41-56, August.
  16. James R. Markusen, 1998. "Contracts, Intellectual Property Rights, and Multinational Investment in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 6448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Karpaty, Patrik & Gustavsson Tingvall, Patrik, 2012. "Offshoring of Services and Corruption: Do Firms Escape Corrupt Countries?," Ratio Working Papers 192, The Ratio Institute.
  2. Pol Antràs, 2011. "Grossman-Hart (1986) Goes Global: Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights, and the International Organization of Production," NBER Working Papers 17470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Heyman, Fredrik & Gustavsson Tingvall, Patrik, 2012. "The Dynamics of Offshoring and Institutions," Ratio Working Papers 190, The Ratio Institute.
  4. KWON Hyeog Ug, 2012. "Offshoring of Japanese Small and Medium Enterprises (Japanese)," Discussion Papers (Japanese) 12004, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  5. JINJI Naoto & ZHANG Xingyuan & HARUNA Shoji, 2011. "Does Tobin's q Matter for Firms' Choices of Globalization Mode?," Discussion papers 11061, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  6. Tingvall, Patrik, 2011. "Dynamic Effects of Corruption on Offshoring," Ratio Working Papers 182, The Ratio Institute.

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