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The Multinational Firm


  • Stephen Ross Yeaple

    () (Department of Economics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, and the National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138)


This article documents the recent advances in the international trade literature toward understanding the role of multinational firms in the conduct of international commerce. Over the past 10 years, we have developed a better understanding of the incentives firms face in their choice of production location, and we know more about the incentives that induce firms to vertically integrate. Furthermore, the theory literature has progressed from two-country models that cannot capture the richness of multinational firms’ activities to multicountry models that do. The empirics have advanced as well but at a slower pace. Progress has been slowed by the lack of comprehensive data and the difficulties of distinguishing between the various mechanisms proposed by theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Ross Yeaple, 2013. "The Multinational Firm," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 193-217, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:5:y:2013:p:193-217

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:presci:v:96:y:2017:i::p:s179-s205 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chen, Xiaoping & Lu, Yi & Zhu, Lianming, 2017. "Product cycle, contractibility, and global sourcing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 283-296.
    3. ZHU Lianming & ITO Koji & TOMIURA Eiichi, 2016. "Global Sourcing in the Wake of Disaster: Evidence from the Great East Japan Earthquake," Discussion papers 16089, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    4. Stiebale, Joel, 2016. "Cross-border M&As and innovative activity of acquiring and target firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 1-15.
    5. Sandra M. Leitner & Manuel Marcias & Daniel Mirza & Olga Pindyuk & Iulia Siedschlag & Robert Stehrer & Roman Stöllinger & Zuzanna Studnicka, 2016. "The Evolving Composition of Intra-EU Trade," wiiw Research Reports 414, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    6. Antrà s, Pol & Yeaple, Stephen R., 2014. "Multinational Firms and the Structure of International Trade," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
    7. Steven Brakman & Harry Garretsen & Zhao Zhao, 2017. "Spatial concentration of manufacturing firms in China," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96, pages 179-205, March.
    8. Santacreu-Vasut, Estefania & Teshima, Kensuke, 2016. "Foreign employees as channel for technology transfer: Evidence from MNC's subsidiaries in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 92-112.
    9. Steven Brakman & Harry Garretsen & Michiel Gerritse & Charles van Marrewijk, 2018. "A Model of Heterogeneous Firm Matches in Cross-Border Mergers & Acquisitions," CESifo Working Paper Series 7083, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Zadia M Feliciano & Robert E Lipsey, 2017. "Foreign Entry into US Manufacturing by Takeovers and the Creation of New Firms," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 43(1), pages 1-16, January.

    More about this item


    foreign direct investment; horizontal integration; vertical integration; internalization; offshoring;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance


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