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Firm heterogeneity and the structure of U.S. multinational activity

  • Yeaple, Stephen Ross

We use firm-level data for U.S. multinational enterprises (MNEs) and the model of firm heterogeneity presented in Helpman, Melitz, and Yeaple [Helpman, E., Melitz, M., Yeaple, S., 2004. Exports versus FDI with heterogeneous firms. The American Economic Review 94 (1), 300-316.] to make four empirical contributions. First, we show that the most productive U.S. firms invest in a larger number of foreign countries and sell more in each country in which they operate. Second, we assess the importance of firm heterogeneity in the structure of MNE activity. Third, we use the model to identify the mechanisms through which country characteristics affect the structure of MNE activity. Finally, we assess the model's shortcomings in order to inform the development of new theory.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 78 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 206-215

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:78:y:2009:i:2:p:206-215
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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  1. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487, 05.
  2. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 105, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  3. 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.
  4. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  5. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," NBER Working Papers 6272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Volker Nocke, 2003. "A Gap for Me: Entrepreneurs and Entry," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-019, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2003. "Heterogeneity and the FDI versus export decision of Japanese manufacturers," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 448-467, December.
  8. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2008. "FDI as an outcome of the market for corporate control: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 2-20, January.
  9. Irarrazabal, Alfonso & Moxnes, Andreas & Opromolla, Luca David, 2009. "The Margins of Multinational Production and the Role of Intra-firm trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 7145, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  11. 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.
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