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Multinational Firms: Reconciling Theory and Evidence

In: Topics in Empirical International Economics: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert E. Lipsey

  • James R. Markusen
  • Keith E. Maskus

An important component of Robert Lipsey's work has been his research on multinational firms, and his careful documentation of their behavior in terms of production and intra-firm trade. In this paper, we extend recent theory referred to as the knowledge-capital model', which simultaneously generates motives for both horizontal and vertical multinational production. We use this model to derive predictions about foreign affiliates' pattern of production for local markets versus production for exports as functions of country characteristics such as market sizes, size differences, and relative endowment differences. These predictions are then taken to data on affiliate production and trade. Results confirm several hypotheses. The ratio of production for export sales to production for local sale by affiliates of foreign multinationals depends negatively on market size, investment and trade costs in the host country, and positively on the relative skilled-labor abundance of the parent country (skilled-labor scarcity of the host country).

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This chapter was published in:
  • 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, October.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10579.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10579
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Brecher, Richard A. & Diaz Alejandro, Carlos F., 1977. "Tariffs, foreign capital and immiserizing growth," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 317-322, November.
    2. Zhang, Kevin Honglin & Markusen, James R., 1999. "Vertical multinationals and host-country characteristics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 233-252, August.
    3. Magnus Blomstrom & Robert E. Lipsey & Lennart Ohlsson, 1989. "What Do Rich Countries Trade with Each Other? R&D and the Composition of U.S. and Swedish Trade," NBER Working Papers 3140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Wong, Kar-yiu, 1986. "Are international trade and factor mobility substitutes?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 25-43, August.
    5. Robert E. Lipsey & Magnus Blomstrom & Eric D. Ramstetter, 1998. "Internationalized Production in World Output," NBER Chapters, in: Geography and Ownership as Bases for Economic Accounting, pages 83-138 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. S. Lael Brainard, 1993. "An Empirical Assessment of the Proximity-Concentration Tradeoff between Multinational Sales and Trade," NBER Working Papers 4580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Robert E. Lipsey & Mario Schimberni & Robert V. Lindsay, 1988. "Changing Patterns of International Investment in and by the United States," NBER Chapters, in: The United States in the World Economy, pages 475-558 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Lipsey, Robert E & Weiss, Merle Yahr, 1981. "Foreign Production and Exports in Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(4), pages 488-94, November.
    9. J. Bhagwati & R. Brecher, 1978. "National Welfare in an Open Economy in the Presence of Foreign Owned Factors of Production," Working papers 224, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    10. Blomström, Magnus & Kokko, Ari, 1996. "Multinational Corporations and Spillovers," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 99, Stockholm School of Economics.
    11. Horstmann, Ignatius J & Markusen, James R, 1987. "Strategic Investments and the Development of Multinationals," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 109-21, February.
    12. Blonigen, Bruce A, 1997. "Firm-Specific Assets and the Link between Exchange Rates and Foreign Direct Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 447-65, June.
    13. James R. Melvin, 1969. "Increasing Returns to Scale as a Determinant of Trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 2(3), pages 389-402, August.
    14. J.P. Neary, 1995. "Factor Mobility and International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0248, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    15. Kravis, Irving B. & Lipsey, Robert E., 1982. "The location of overseas production and production for export by U.S. multinational firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3-4), pages 201-223, May.
    16. Blomstrom, Magnus & Lipsey, Robert E, 1989. "The Export Performance of U.S. and Swedish Multinationals," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 35(3), pages 245-64, September.
    17. Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1988. "The Effect of Multinational Firms' Operations on Their Domestic Employment," NBER Working Papers 2760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Markusen, James R., 1983. "Factor movements and commodity trade as complements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 341-356, May.
    19. Markusen, James R & Svensson, Lars E O, 1985. "Trade in Goods and Factors with International Differences in Technology," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(1), pages 175-92, February.
    20. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J., 1998. "Multinational firms and the new trade theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 183-203, December.
    21. David L. Carr & James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 2001. "Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 693-708, June.
    22. Helpman, Elhanan, 1985. "Multinational Corporations and Trade Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 443-57, July.
    23. Wilfred J. Ethier & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1983. "The Theorems of International Trade with Factor Mobility," NBER Working Papers 1115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Magnus Blomstrom & Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1988. "Multinational Firms and Manufactured Exports from Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 2493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. Karolina Ekholm,, . "Factor Endowments and the Pattern of Affiliate Production by Multinational Enterprises," Discussion Papers 97/19, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    26. S. Lael Brainard, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Multinational Corporations and Trade with a Trade-Off Between Proximity and Concentration," NBER Working Papers 4269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Kravis, Irving B & Lipsey, Robert E, 1992. "Sources of Competitiveness of the United States and of Its Multinational Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 193-201, May.
    28. Magnus Blomstrom & Robert E. Lipsey & Ksenia Kulchycky, 1988. "U.S. and Swedish Direct Investment and Exports," NBER Chapters, in: Trade Policy Issues and Empirical Analysis, pages 257-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    29. Dick, Andrew R., 1993. "Strategic trade policy and welfare : The empirical consequences of cross-ownership," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3-4), pages 227-249, November.
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