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Does investing abroad reduce domestic activity? Evidence from Italian manufacturing firms


  • Raffaello Bronzini

    () (Bank of Italy)


The aim of this paper is to evaluate whether domestic and foreign activities of Italian firms are mainly substitutes or complements. We take advantage of a unique firm-level panel data set from the Bank of Italy Survey of Industrial and Service Firms, which provides information on the international activity of a representative sample of Italian enterprises. We use matching methods to compare the performance of firms that become multinationals with that of firms that had considered the possibility to invest abroad, but had not yet done so. Using a different approach, we supplement the counterfactual strategy by studying the conditional over-time correlation between domestic and foreign employment of a sample of multinational firms. Both methods suggest that domestic and foreign activities are more likely to be complements than substitutes. The positive correlation between domestic and foreign employment is higher for the domestic highly-skilled workforce and for firms that have adopted complex strategies of internationalization.

Suggested Citation

  • Raffaello Bronzini, 2010. "Does investing abroad reduce domestic activity? Evidence from Italian manufacturing firms," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 769, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_769_10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blomstrom, Magnus & Fors, Gunnar & Lipsey, Robert E, 1997. "Foreign Direct Investment and Employment: Home Country Experience in the United States and Sweden," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1787-1797, November.
    2. Giorgio Barba Navaretti & Davide Castellani & Anne-Célia Disdier, 2010. "How does investing in cheap labour countries affect performance at home? Firm-level evidence from France and Italy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(2), pages 234-260, April.
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    More about this item


    foreign direct investment; multinational enterprises; matching; delocalization;

    JEL classification:

    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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