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Licensing versus Direct Investment: A Model of Internalization by the Multinational Enterprise


  • Ignatius Horstmann
  • James R. Markusen


A firm must decide whether to serve a foreign market by exporting, building a foreign branch plant , or licensing the production to an existing foreign producer. The ex istence of reputations implies that any licensing agreement must prov ide a licensee with the incentive to maintain the reputation. This cr eates a motive for the firm to internalize transactions by building a branch plant (i.e., by becoming a multinational). The model reflects a more general notion that the inability of the firm to control a li censee's (agent's) actions can provide incentives for multinational a ctivity. This paper explores the determinants of the firm's mode of o peration as well as exploring the consequences of certain government policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Ignatius Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1987. "Licensing versus Direct Investment: A Model of Internalization by the Multinational Enterprise," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 20(3), pages 464-481, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:20:y:1987:i:3:p:464-81

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