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Multinational Firms: Reconciling Theory and Evidence

In: Topics in Empirical International Economics: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert E. Lipsey

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  • James R. Markusen
  • Keith E. Maskus

Abstract

An important component of Robert Lipsey's work has been his research on multinational firms, and his careful documentation of their behavior in terms of production and intra-firm trade. In this paper, we extend recent theory referred to as the knowledge-capital model', which simultaneously generates motives for both horizontal and vertical multinational production. We use this model to derive predictions about foreign affiliates' pattern of production for local markets versus production for exports as functions of country characteristics such as market sizes, size differences, and relative endowment differences. These predictions are then taken to data on affiliate production and trade. Results confirm several hypotheses. The ratio of production for export sales to production for local sale by affiliates of foreign multinationals depends negatively on market size, investment and trade costs in the host country, and positively on the relative skilled-labor abundance of the parent country (skilled-labor scarcity of the host country).

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This chapter was published in:

  • Magnus Blomstrom & Linda S. Goldberg, 2001. "Topics in Empirical International Economics: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert E. Lipsey," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number blom01-1.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10579.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10579

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    1. Ethier, Wilfred J. & Svensson, Lars E. O., 1986. "The theoremes of international trade with factor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 21-42, February.
    2. Kravis, Irving B & Lipsey, Robert E, 1992. "Sources of Competitiveness of the United States and of Its Multinational Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 193-201, May.
    3. J. Peter Neary, 1995. "Factor Mobility and International Trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(s1), pages 4-23, November.
    4. Markusen, James R., 1983. "Factor movements and commodity trade as complements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 341-356, May.
    5. Lipsey, Robert E & Weiss, Merle Yahr, 1981. "Foreign Production and Exports in Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(4), pages 488-94, November.
    6. 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.
    7. Blomström, Magnus & Kokko, Ari, 1996. "Multinational Corporations and Spillovers," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 99, Stockholm School of Economics.
    8. Kevin H. Zhang & James R. Markusen, 1997. "Vertical Multinationals and Host-Country Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 6203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Robert E. Lipsey & Mario Schimberni & Robert V. Lindsay, 1988. "Changing Patterns of International Investment in and by the United States," NBER Chapters, in: The United States in the World Economy, pages 475-558 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Brecher, Richard A. & Diaz Alejandro, Carlos F., 1977. "Tariffs, foreign capital and immiserizing growth," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 317-322, November.
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    12. Wong, Kar-yiu, 1986. "Are international trade and factor mobility substitutes?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 25-43, August.
    13. Horstmann, Ignatius J & Markusen, James R, 1987. "Strategic Investments and the Development of Multinationals," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 109-21, February.
    14. Helpman, Elhanan, 1985. "Multinational Corporations and Trade Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 443-57, July.
    15. Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1980. "The Location of Overseas Production and Production for Export by U.S. Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 0482, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Blomstrom, Magnus & Lipsey, Robert E, 1989. "The Export Performance of U.S. and Swedish Multinationals," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 35(3), pages 245-64, September.
    17. Magnus Blomstrom & Robert E. Lipsey & Ksenia Kulchycky, 1988. "U.S. and Swedish Direct Investment and Exports," NBER Chapters, in: Trade Policy Issues and Empirical Analysis, pages 257-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1988. "The Effect of Multinational Firms' Operations on Their Domestic Employment," NBER Working Papers 2760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. David L. Carr & James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 1998. "Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise," NBER Working Papers 6773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J., 1998. "Multinational firms and the new trade theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 183-203, December.
    21. Bhagwati, Jagdish N. & Brecher, Richard A., 1980. "National welfare in an open economy in the presence of foreign-owned factors of production," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 103-115, February.
    22. James R. Markusen & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1983. "Trade in Goods and Factors with International Differences in Technology," NBER Working Papers 1101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. S. Lael Brainard, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Multinational Corporations and Trade with a Trade-Off Between Proximity and Concentration," NBER Working Papers 4269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    25. Karolina Ekholm,, . "Factor Endowments and the Pattern of Affiliate Production by Multinational Enterprises," Discussion Papers 97/19, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    26. Magnus Blomstrom & Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1988. "Multinational Firms and Manufactured Exports from Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 2493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Magnus Blomstrom & Robert E. Lipsey & Lennart Ohlsson, 1989. "What Do Rich Countries Trade with Each Other? R&D and the Composition of U.S. and Swedish Trade," NBER Working Papers 3140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Blonigen, Bruce A, 1997. "Firm-Specific Assets and the Link between Exchange Rates and Foreign Direct Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 447-65, June.
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