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Fixed Costs, Foreign Direct Investment, and Gravity with Zeros


  • Ronald B. Davies
  • Helga Kristjánsdóttir


Fixed costs play a crucial role in current models of foreign direct investment (FDI), yet they are almost entirely ignored in empirical treatments of FDI. We fill this gap by using a 1989-2001 panel of FDI flows into Iceland to examine the determinants of fixed costs for multinational firms and how these influence aggregate patterns of investment. Our additions to research in the field include usage of several natural-resource variables, and the analysis of data on initial entry of FDI into a developed country. We use the Heckman two-step procedure, which allows us to account for fixed costs and their impact on estimation. Taken together, we find that the standard OLS approach to the data incorrectly links the quantity of FDI to source-country variables while in fact most of their role is in determining whether FDI takes place at all. Copyright © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald B. Davies & Helga Kristjánsdóttir, 2010. "Fixed Costs, Foreign Direct Investment, and Gravity with Zeros," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 47-62, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:18:y:2010:i:1:p:47-62

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yuko Hashimoto & Konstantin M. Wacker, 2012. "The Role of Risk and Information for International Capital Flows: New Evidence from the SDDS," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 124, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    2. Katharina van Treeck & K.M. Wacker, 2017. "Financial Globalization and the Labor Share in Developing Countries: The Type of Capital Matters," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 219, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    3. Thorvaldur Gylfason & Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso & Per Magnus Wijkman, 2015. "Free Trade Agreements, Institutions and the Exports of Eastern Partnership Countries," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(6), pages 1214-1229, November.
    4. Åsa Hansson & Karin Olofsdotter, 2014. "Labor Taxation and FDI Decisions in the European Union," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 263-287, April.
    5. Davies, Ronald B. & Siedschlag, Iulia & Studnicka, Zuzanna, 2016. "The Impact of Taxes on the Extensive and Intensive Margins of FDI," Papers WP537, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    6. Eicher, Theo S. & Helfman, Lindy & Lenkoski, Alex, 2012. "Robust FDI determinants: Bayesian Model Averaging in the presence of selection bias," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 637-651.
    7. Garrett, Jinzhuo Z., 2016. "Explaining asymmetries in bilateral FDI flows," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 155-171.
    8. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4340 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business


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