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Foreign Direct Investment and the Domestic Capital Stock

  • Mihir A. Desai
  • C. Fritz Foley
  • James R. Hines Jr.

This paper evaluates evidence of the impact of outbound foreign direct investment (FDI) on domestic investment rates. OECD countries with high rates of outbound FDI in the 1980s and 1990s exhibited lower domestic investment than other countries, which suggests that FDI and domestic investment are substitutes. U.S. time series data tell a very different story, however: years in which American multinational firms have greater foreign capital expenditures coincide with greater domestic capital spending by the same firms. One dollar of additional foreign capital spending is associated with 3.5 dollars of additional domestic capital spending in the time series, implying that foreign and domestic capital are complements in production by multinational firms. This effect is consistent with cross sectional evidence that firms whose foreign operations expand simultaneously expand their domestic operations, and suggests that interpretation of the OECD cross sectional evidence may be confounded by omitted variables.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 95 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 33-38

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:2:p:33-38
Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282805774670185
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  1. Desai, Mihir A. & Foley, C. Fritz & Hines, James Jr., 2004. "Foreign direct investment in a world of multiple taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2727-2744, December.
  2. Martin Feldstein, 1994. "The Effects of Outbound Foreign Direct Investment on the Domestic Capital Stock," NBER Working Papers 4668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, Jr., 2003. "A Multinational Perspective on Capital Structure Choice and Internal Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 9715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Antras, Pol, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," Scholarly Articles 3196328, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & Kristin J. Forbes, 2008. "Financial Constraints and Growth: Multinational and Local Firm Responses to Currency Depreciations," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(6), pages 2857-2888, November.
  6. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
  7. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, June.
  8. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration Versus Outsourcing In Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120, February.
  9. David L. Carr & James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 2001. "Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 693-708, June.
  10. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, Jr., 2002. "The Costs of Shared Ownership: Evidence from International Joint Ventures," NBER Chapters, in: Corporate Alliances National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2005. "Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 11717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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