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Gravity, education, and economic development in a multinational affiliate location


  • Howard Shatz


This paper investigates the relationship between education and the location of multinational affiliates. It finds that US multinationals seek production locations with high levels of education rather than with uneducated labour. Furthermore, the education effect can be separated from the effects of overall economic development. Based on these results, the paper suggests why previous results regarding education and multinational affiliate location have been mixed. Using a gravity equation framework, the analysis also introduces a methodological innovation by including numerous economies that receive no investment. The expanded data set reveals that about two-thirds of the variation in multinational location can be explained by the standard gravity variables of host country size, transport costs, distance from the investing country, and host country remoteness. Furthermore, the elasticities are higher than those resulting from the analysis of the more restricted country samples used in nearly all research on multinationals. This suggests that previous research might have missed or underestimated relationships and may not be useful in understanding why some countries receive little or no multinational investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard Shatz, 2003. "Gravity, education, and economic development in a multinational affiliate location," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 117-150.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:12:y:2003:i:2:p:117-150 DOI: 10.1080/0963819032000084368

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Scheinkman, Jose A & LeBaron, Blake, 1989. "Nonlinear Dynamics and Stock Returns," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(3), pages 311-337, July.
    2. Paul Grauwe & Hans Dewachter, 1993. "A chaotic model of the exchange rate: The role of fundamentalists and chartists," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 351-379, December.
    3. De Grauwe, Paul & Dewachter, Hans, 1990. "A Chaotic Monetary Model of the Exchange Rate," CEPR Discussion Papers 466, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Szpiro, George G., 1994. "Exchange rate speculation and chaos inducing intervention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 363-368, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Busse, Matthias & Königer, Jens & Nunnenkamp, Peter, 2008. "FDI Promotion through Bilateral Investment Treaties More Than a Bit," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 39891, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. Céline Azémar & Rodolphe Desbordes, 2010. "Short-run Strategies for Attracting Foreign Direct Investment," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(7), pages 928-957, July.
    3. Sascha O. Becker & Karolina Ekholm & Robert Jäckle & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2005. "Location Choice and Employment Decisions: A Comparison of German and Swedish Multinationals," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 141(4), pages 693-731, December.
    4. Axel Berger & Matthias Busse & Peter Nunnenkamp & Martin Roy, 2013. "Do trade and investment agreements lead to more FDI? Accounting for key provisions inside the black box," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 247-275, June.
    5. Giovanni Pica & José V. Rodríguez Mora, 2005. "FDI, Allocation of Talents and Differences in Regulation," CSEF Working Papers 134, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    6. Pica, Giovanni & Rodríguez Mora, José V., 2011. "Who's afraid of a globalized world? Foreign Direct Investments, local knowledge and allocation of talents," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 86-101, September.
    7. Simone Juhasz Silva & Douglas Nelson, 2012. "Does Aid Cause Trade? Evidence from an Asymmetric Gravity Model," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(5), pages 545-577, May.
    8. Peter Nunnenkamp, 2010. "How Global is Foreign Direct Investment and What Can Policymakers Do About It? Stylized Facts, Knowledge Gaps, and Selected Policy Instruments," Chapters,in: The Shape of the Division of Labour, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.


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