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Bidding for Horizontal Multinationals


  • Kristian Behrens
  • Pierre M. Picard


We present a model in which governments bid for firms by taxing/subsidizing setup costs. Firms choose both the number and the location of the plants they operate, and the equilibrium industry structure is affected by governments' subsidy choices. We show that the endogenous presence of horizontal multinationals attenuates the race to the bottom and yields some results that run counter to traditional findings in the literature. First, in the presence of multinationals, increasing subsidies decrease firms' profits by exacerbating price competition due to more firms going multinational. Second, instead of being always subsidized, firms may actually be taxed in equilibrium. Last, subsidies may become strategically independent policy instruments, instead of being strategic complements. (JEL: F12, F23, H27, H73, R12) (c) 2008 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristian Behrens & Pierre M. Picard, 2008. "Bidding for Horizontal Multinationals," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1244-1278, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:6:y:2008:i:6:p:1244-1278

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Blanchard, Pierre & Gaigné, Carl & Mathieu, Claude, 2012. "Trade costs and international strategy of firms: The role of endogenous product differentiation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1023-1036.
    2. Kristian Behrens & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2009. "Krugman's "Papers in Regional Science": The 100 dollar bill on the sidewalk is gone and the 2008 Nobel Prize well-deserved," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(2), pages 467-489, June.
    3. Amerighi, Oscar & Peralta, Susana, 2010. "The proximity-concentration trade-off with profit shifting," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 90-101, July.
    4. Jie Ma & Pascalis Raimondos-Møller, 2015. "Competition for FDI and Profit Shifting," CESifo Working Paper Series 5153, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. O. Amerighi & S. Peralta, 2007. "Exports Versus Horizontal Foreign Direct Investment with Profit Shifting," Working Papers 604, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    6. Osiris J. Parcero, 2009. "Optimal country's policy towards multinationals when local regions can choose between firm-specific and non-firm-specific policies," Working Papers 2009/34, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    7. Nils Herger & Christos Kotsogiannis & Steve McCorriston, 2011. "International Taxation and FDI Strategies: Evidence From US Cross-Border Acquisitions," Discussion Papers 1109, Exeter University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • H27 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Other Sources of Revenue
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)


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