IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Determinants and effects of foreign direct investment: evidence from German firm-level data

Listed author(s):
  • Claudia M. Buch
  • Jörn Kleinert
  • Alexander Lipponer
  • Farid Toubal

type="main" xml:lang="en"> Foreign direct investment is an essential aspect of ‘globalization’ yet its empirical determinants are not well understood. What we do know is based either on poor data for a wide range of nations, or good data for the US and Swedish cases. In this paper, we provide evidence on the determinants of the activities of German multinational firms by using a newly available firm-level data set from the Deutsche Bundesbank. The specific goal of this paper is to demonstrate the relative role of country-level and firm-level determinants of foreign direct investment. We focus on three main questions: First, what are the main driving forces of German firms’ multinational activities? Second, is there evidence that sector-level and firm-level factors shape internationalization patterns? Third, is there evidence of agglomeration effects in the foreign activities of German firms? We find that the market access motive for internationalization dominates. Firms move abroad mainly to gain better access to large foreign markets. Cost-saving motives, however, are important for some manufacturing sectors. Our results strongly suggest that firm-level heterogeneity has an important influence on internationalization patterns – as stressed by recent models of international trade. We also find positive agglomeration effects for the activities of German firms that stem from the number of other German firms that are active on a given foreign market. In terms of lessons for economic policy, our results show that lowering barriers to the integration of markets and encouraging the formation of human capital can promote the activities of multinational firms. However, our results related to the heterogeneity of firms and agglomeration tendencies show that it might be difficult to fine-tune policies directed at the exploitation of synergies and at the creation of clusters of foreign firms. — Claudia M. Buch, Jörn Kleinert, Alexander Lipponer and Farid Toubal

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by CEPR & CES & MSH in its journal Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 20 (2005)
Issue (Month): 41 (January)
Pages: 52-110

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bla:ecpoli:v:20:y:2005:i:41:p:52-110
Contact details of provider: Postal:
3rd Floor, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ

Phone: +44 (0)20 7183 8801
Fax: +44 (0)20 7183 8820
Web page:

More information through EDIRC


Schackstr. 4, 80539 Munich

Phone: +49 (89) 2180-2748
Fax: +49 (89) 39 73 03
Web page:

More information through EDIRC


48 boulevard Jourdan - 75014 Paris

Phone: 01 43 13 63 00
Fax: 01 43 13 63 10
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ecpoli:v:20:y:2005:i:41:p:52-110. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.