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Optimal Integration: Strategies for the Multinational Firm

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  • Grossman, Gene
  • Helpman, Elhanan
  • Szeidl, Adam

Abstract

We examine integration strategies of multinational firms that face a rich array of choices of international organization. Each firm in an industry must provide headquarter services from its home country, but can produce its intermediate inputs and conduct assembly operations in one or more of three locations. We study the equilibrium choices of firms that differ in productivity levels, focusing on the role that industry characteristics such as the fixed costs of foreign subsidiaries, the cost of transporting intermediate and final goods, and the regional composition of the consumer market play in determining the optimal integration strategies. In the process, we identify three distinct ‘complementarities’ that link firms’ foreign investment decisions for different stages of production.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4477.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4477

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Keywords: direct foreign investment; intra-firm trade; multinational corporations; vertical integration;

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References

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  1. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 451-71, June.
  2. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman & Adam Szeidl, 2003. "Optimal Integration Strategies for the Multinational Firm," NBER Working Papers 10189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2005. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 135-159.
  5. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  6. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Managerial Incentives and the International Organization of Production," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1987, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. 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.
  9. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Outsourcing versus FDI in Industry Equilibrium," Working Papers 148, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
  10. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2003. "The complex integration strategies of multinationals and cross country dependencies in the structure of foreign direct investment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 293-314, August.
  11. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2003. "Export versus FDI," NBER Working Papers 9439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Karolina Ekholm & Rikard Forslid & James Markusen, 2003. "Export-Platform Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 9517, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J., 1996. "The Theory of Endowment, Intra-Industry and Multinational Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 1341, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Brainard, S Lael, 1997. "An Empirical Assessment of the Proximity-Concentration Trade-off between Multinational Sales and Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 520-44, September.
  15. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  16. Michael P. Keane & Susan E. Feinberg, 2006. "Accounting for the Growth of MNC-Based Trade Using a Structural Model of U.S. MNCs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1515-1558, December.
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