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Export Versus FDI in Services


  • Rudrani Bhattacharya
  • Ila Patnaik
  • Ajay Shah


In the literature on exports and investment, most productive firms are seen to invest abroad. In the Helpman et al. (2004) model, costs of transportation play a critical role in the decision about whether to serve foreign customers by exporting, or by producing abroad. We consider the case of tradable services, where the marginal cost of transport is near zero. We argue that in the purchase of services, buyers face uncertainty about product quality, especially when production is located far away. Firm optimisation then leads less productive firms to self-select themselves for FDI. We test this prediction with data from the Indian software industry and find support for it.
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  • Rudrani Bhattacharya & Ila Patnaik & Ajay Shah, 2012. "Export Versus FDI in Services," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(1), pages 61-78, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:35:y:2012:i:1:p:61-78 DOI: j.1467-9701.2011.01385.x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ashish Arora & Alfonso Gambardella, 2005. "The Globalization of the Software Industry: Perspectives and Opportunities for Developed and Developing Countries," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 1-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Tomiura, Eiichi, 2007. "Foreign outsourcing, exporting, and FDI: A productivity comparison at the firm level," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 113-127, May.
    3. Girma, Sourafel & Gorg, Holger & Strobl, Eric, 2004. "Exports, international investment, and plant performance: evidence from a non-parametric test," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 317-324, June.
    4. Dilek Demirbas & Ila Patnaik & Ajay Shah, 2013. "Graduating to globalisation: a study of Southern multinationals," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(2), pages 242-259, November.
    5. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
    6. Fukunari Kimura & Kozo Kiyota, 2006. "Exports, FDI, and Productivity: Dynamic Evidence from Japanese Firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 142(4), pages 695-719, December.
    7. Sourafel Girma & David Greenaway & Richard Kneller, 2004. "Does Exporting Increase Productivity? A Microeconometric Analysis of Matched Firms," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(5), pages 855-866, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paulo Júlio & Ricardo Pinheiro-Alves & José Tavares, 2011. "FDI and institutional reform in Portugal," GEE Papers 0040, Gabinete de Estratégia e Estudos, Ministério da Economia, revised Sep 2011.
    2. Markus Kelle & Jörn Kleinert & Horst Raff & Farid Toubal, 2013. "Cross-border and Foreign Affiliate Sales of Services: Evidence from German Microdata," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(11), pages 1373-1392, November.
    3. Kiyoyasu Tanaka, 2015. "Firm Heterogeneity and FDI in Distribution Services," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(8), pages 1295-1311, August.
    4. Stefano Federico & Enrico Tosti, 2017. "Exporters and Importers of Services: Firm-Level Evidence on Italy," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(10), pages 2078-2096, October.
    5. Iza Lejárraga & Harald Oberhofer, 2015. "Performance of small- and medium-sized enterprises in services trade: evidence from French firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 673-702, October.
    6. Joachim Wagner, 2012. "International trade and firm performance: a survey of empirical studies since 2006," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 148(2), pages 235-267, June.
    7. Joachim Wagner, 2014. "Exports, foreign direct investments and productivity: are services firms different?," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 24-37, January.
    8. Neil Foster-McGregor & Anders Isaksson & Florian Kaulich, 2014. "Outward Foreign Direct Investment, Exporting and Firm-Level Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(2), pages 244-257, February.
    9. Shao, Yanmin & Shang, Yan, 2016. "Decisions of OFDI Engagement and Location for Heterogeneous Multinational firms: Evidence from Chinese firms," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 178-187.
    10. Neil Foster-McGregor & Anders Isaksson & Florian Kaulich, 2015. "Importing, exporting and the productivity of services firms in Sub-Saharan Africa," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 499-522, June.

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