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Export-Platform Foreign Direct Investment

  • Karolina Ekholm
  • Rikard Forslid
  • James R. Markusen

A poorly understood empirical phenomenon is export-platform affiliate production (EP), particularly for sale in third countries rather than in the parent or host countries. We develop a three-region model, with two identical large, high-cost countries (collectively called North) and a small, low-cost country (South). The large countries each have one firm. Our theory section analyzes the conditions under which one or both of these firms uses the South to produce for (a) export back to the parent (home-country EP), (b) export to the other large country (third-country EP), or (c) export to both (global EP). A free-trade area between one of the northern countries and South can lead to the insider northern firm choosing home or global EP and the outsider firm choosing third-country EP for a range of parameter values. Our empirical section shows the relevance of this outcome. Foreign manufacturing affiliates of US multinationals inside North America concentrate on home-country EP while affiliates inside Europe concentrate on third-country EP. (JEL: F12, F23) (c) 2007 by the European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 5 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (06)
Pages: 776-795

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:5:y:2007:i:4:p:776-795
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  1. Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Markusen, James R. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 1996. "Trade policy subtleties with multinational firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1605-1627, November.
  2. James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 2001. "Multinational Firms: Reconciling Theory and Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: Topics in Empirical International Economics: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert E. Lipsey, pages 71-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bruce A. Blonigen, 1999. "In Search of Substitution Between Foreign Production and Exports," NBER Working Papers 7154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Braconier, Henrik & Ekholm, Karolina, 2001. "Foreign Direct Investment in Central and Eastern Europe: Employment Effects in the EU," CEPR Discussion Papers 3052, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Braconier, Henrik & Ekholm, Karolina, 1999. "Swedish Multinationals and Competition from High- and Low-Wage Locations," Working Paper Series 523, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  7. James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 1999. "Discriminating Among Alternative Theories of the Multinational Enterprise," NBER Working Papers 7164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Magnus Blomstrom & Linda S. Goldberg, 2001. "Topics in Empirical International Economics: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert E. Lipsey," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number blom01-1.
  9. Ronald W. Jones, 2000. "Globalization and the Theory of Input Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026210086x, June.
  10. David L. Carr & James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 1998. "Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise," NBER Working Papers 6773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Brainard, S Lael, 1997. "An Empirical Assessment of the Proximity-Concentration Trade-off between Multinational Sales and Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 520-44, September.
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