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Physical Capital, Knowledge Capital and the Choice Between FDI and Outsourcing

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

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 is transferring primarily knowledge-based assets. An important assumption there is that the relevant knowledge is absorbed by the local manager or licensee over the course of time: knowledge is non-excludable. More recently, a number of influential papers have adopted a property-right view of the firm, assuming the application abroad of physical capital, the owner of which retains full and exclusive rights to the capital should a relationship break down. In this paper we combine both forms of capital assets in a single model. The model predicts that foreign direct investment (owned subsidiaries) is more likely than licensing when the ratio of knowledge capital to physical capital is high, or when market value is high relative to the book value of capital (high Tobin's-Q).

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7073.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7073

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Keywords: FDI; hold-up; knowledge capital; outsourcing; physical capital;

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References

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  1. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Morck, Randall & Yeung, Bernard, 1992. "Internalization : An event study test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 41-56, August.
  3. Fosfuri, Andrea & Motta, Massimo & Ronde, Thomas, 2001. "Foreign direct investment and spillovers through workers' mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 205-222, February.
  4. repec:fth:michin:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Glass, Amy Jocelyn & Saggi, Kamal, 2002. " Multinational Firms and Technology Transfer," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(4), pages 495-513, December.
  6. Markusen, James R., 2001. "Contracts, intellectual property rights, and multinational investment in developing countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 189-204, February.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Pol Antr�s, 2005. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1054-1073, September.
  10. Ethier, W.J. & Markusen, J.R., 1993. "Multinational Firms, Technology Diffusion and Trade," ISER Discussion Paper 0303, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  11. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," NBER Working Papers 9740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Morck, Randall & Yeung, Bernard, 1991. "Why Investors Value Multinationality," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(2), pages 165-87, April.
  13. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. KWON Hyeog Ug, 2012. "Offshoring of Japanese Small and Medium Enterprises (Japanese)," Discussion Papers (Japanese) 12004, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  2. Heyman, Fredrik & Gustavsson Tingvall, Patrik, 2012. "The Dynamics of Offshoring and Institutions," Ratio Working Papers 190, The Ratio Institute.
  3. Karpaty, Patrik & Tingvall, Patrik Gustavsson, 2011. "Offshoring of Services and Corruption: Do Firms Escape Corrupt Countries?," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 243, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
  4. Antràs, Pol, 2011. "Grossman-Hart (1986) Goes Global: Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights, and the International Organization of Production," CEPR Discussion Papers 8598, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Tingvall, Patrik, 2011. "Dynamic Effects of Corruption on Offshoring," Ratio Working Papers 182, The Ratio Institute.
  6. 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).

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