Theoretical and experimental insights on firms’ internationalization decisions under uncertainty
We revisit and extend previous theoretical work on internationalization decisions by firms which are imperfectly informed on the state of the demand in the market into which they are planning to export or enter through foreign direct investment (FDI). The latter is a costly strategy mitigating the international firm's demand uncertainty, while the local firm is perfectly informed. We report results from an experimental test of the aforementioned framework which confirm dominant strategy play by local firms under both the good and bad states of the local demand. Also, the prediction that the magnitude of the FDI-specific cost determines whether foreign firms enter via FDI is confirmed in qualitative terms. However, in the case in which FDI is the dominant strategy under risk neutrality, less than full FDI adoption is obtained. We also find an unexpected interaction between the internationalization decision and the market strategy once entry has occurred, indicating the presence of relevant behavioral and strategic factors which are not anticipated by the theoretical model.
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