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Firm heterogeneity and location choice of Taiwanese multinationals

  • Aw, Bee Yan
  • Lee, Yi
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    This paper examines the extent to which production location decisions of Taiwanese multinationals reflect underlying patterns of firm productivity. In our theoretical model, heterogeneous firms in a middle-income country decide on the optimal production locations for serving three geographically separate markets: domestic, foreign high-income and foreign low-income. The model shows that the equilibrium decision of a firm depends on the fixed investment costs of establishing foreign subsidiaries, production costs, transportation costs, market size and its own productivity level. Using firm-level data in 2000, Taiwanese electronics firms are divided into four different categories: non-FDI, investors in China only, investors in the U.S. only, investors in both China and the U.S. We use a multinomial logit model to link firms' location choices with their productivity, controlling for country, industry and other firm characteristics. Our empirical results are consistent with the predictions of the theoretical model. We show that more productive firms engage in outward FDI, with the most productive ones investing in both China and the U.S. We also provide evidence indicating that Taiwanese multinationals investing only in the U.S. are more productive than those investing exclusively in China due to smaller fixed investment costs in China relative to the U.S.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V6D-4T24FWX-1/2/5e21c2d446525184f9a8d64ac1c5cf74
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

    Volume (Year): 76 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (December)
    Pages: 403-415

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:76:y:2008:i:2:p:403-415
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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    1. Fosfuri, Andrea & Motta, Massimo, 1999. " Multinationals without Advantages," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 617-30, December.
    2. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman & Adam Szeidl, 2003. "Optimal Integration Strategies for the Multinational Firm," Working Papers 142, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
    3. Baldwin, Richard & Ottaviano, Gianmarco, 1998. "Multiproduct Multinationals and Reciprocal FDI Dumping," CEPR Discussion Papers 1851, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Chiara Criscuolo & Jonathan E. Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2005. "Global Engagement and the Innovation Activities of Firms," NBER Working Papers 11479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Sourafel Girma & Richard Kneller & Mauro Pisu, 2005. "Exports versus FDI: An Empirical Test," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 141(2), pages 193-218, July.
    6. Kozo Kiyota & Shujiro Urata, 2005. "The Role of Multinational Firms in International Trade: The Case of Japan," Discussion papers 05012, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    7. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    8. Ekholm, Karolina & Forslid, Rikard & Markusen, James R., 2003. "Export-Platform Foreign Direct Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 3823, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Aw, Bee Yan & Chung, Sukkyun & Roberts, Mark J, 2000. "Productivity and Turnover in the Export Market: Micro-level Evidence from the Republic of Korea and Taiwan (China)," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 65-90, January.
    10. Belderbos, Rene & Sleuwaegen, Leo, 1996. "Japanese Firms and the Decision to Invest Abroad: Business Groups and Regional Core Networks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(2), pages 214-20, May.
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