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Changing Patterns of International Investment In and By the United States

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  • Robert E. Lipsey

Abstract

The international investment account of the United States has gone through several cycles. Before World War I, the U.S. was a borrower most of the time and an international debtor. Between the two World Wars, it was first a lender and then a refuge for foreign capital. After World War 11, the U.S. became the world's major lender and creditor and in the last few years it has become the world's largest borrower, and, according to the official accounts, even a net debtor. U.S. direct investment abroad began while the U.S. was still an overall borrower and debtor. The technological leaders among U.S. manufacturing firms pioneered in this technique for exploiting their particular knowledge and skills by producing in other countries. The peak in the importance of foreign assets relative to the domestic assets of U.S. companies was probably reached during the early 1970s. While the flow of direct investment from the U.S. has slowed, there has recently been a large inflow of foreign direct investment into the U.S.. That inflow has roughly tripled the share of foreign-owned companies in the U.S. since 1950. While foreign-owned firms accounted for only about 3% per cent of total U.S. employment after all the recent growth in foreign direct investment in the U.S., the shares in manufacturing and wholesale trade were considerably higher. Foreign firms accounted for almost 40 per cent of chemical industry employment, but for less than 10 per cent in all the other industries. The foreign shares in service industries, aside from wholesale trade, increased, but remained below 3 per cent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2240.

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Date of creation: May 1987
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Publication status: published as Feldstein, Martin (ed.) The United States in the World Economy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2240

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  1. Robert E. Lipsey & Irving B. Kravis, 1985. "The Competitive Position of U.S. Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 1557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Baldwin, Robert E, 1979. "Determinants of Trade and Foreign Investment: Further Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(1), pages 40-48, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Joosung Jun, 1989. "U.S. Tax Policy and Direct Investment Abroad," NBER Working Papers 3049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Barry Eichengreen, 1987. "Til Debt Do Us Part: The U.S. Capital Market and Foreign Lending, 1920-1955," NBER Working Papers 2394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Michael Devereux & Charles Engel, 2000. "The Optimal Choice of Exchange-Rate Regime: Price-Setting Rules and Internationalized Production," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0022, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  4. Campa, Jose & Goldberg, Linda S., 1995. "Investment in manufacturing, exchange rates and external exposure," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 297-320, May.
  5. James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 1999. "Multinational Firms: Reconciling Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert E. Lipsey, 1994. "Outward Direct Investment and the U.S. Economy," NBER Working Papers 4691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert E. Lipsey, 1989. "The Internationalization of Production," NBER Working Papers 2923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Linda S. Goldberg, 1990. "Nominal Exchange Rate Patterns: Correlationswith Entry, Exit, and Invesment in U.S. Industry," NBER Working Papers 3249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1992. "Technological Characteristics of Industries and the Competitiveness of the U.S. and its Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 2933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Campbell DC & Mcelrath RG, 1990. "The Employment effects of multinational enterprises in the United States and of American multinationals abroad," ILO Working Papers 289571, International Labour Organization.
  11. Joosung Jun, 1990. "U.S. Tax Policy and Direct Investment Abroad," NBER Chapters, in: Taxation in the Global Economy, pages 55-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Joosung Jun, 1989. "What is the Marginal Source of Funds for Foreign Investment?," NBER Working Papers 3064, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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