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Optimal Integration: Strategies for the Multinational Firm

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  • Grossman, Gene
  • Helpman, Elhanan
  • Szeidl, Adam

Abstract

We examine integration strategies of multinational firms that face a rich array of choices of international organization. Each firm in an industry must provide headquarter services from its home country, but can produce its intermediate inputs and conduct assembly operations in one or more of three locations. We study the equilibrium choices of firms that differ in productivity levels, focusing on the role that industry characteristics such as the fixed costs of foreign subsidiaries, the cost of transporting intermediate and final goods, and the regional composition of the consumer market play in determining the optimal integration strategies. In the process, we identify three distinct ‘complementarities’ that link firms’ foreign investment decisions for different stages of production.

Suggested Citation

  • Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan & Szeidl, Adam, 2004. "Optimal Integration: Strategies for the Multinational Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 4477, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4477
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 520-544, September.
    2. James R. Markusen & Anthony J. Venables, 2021. "The theory of endowment, intra-industry and multi-national trade," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: BROADENING TRADE THEORY Incorporating Market Realities into Traditional Models, chapter 4, pages 69-94, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    3. Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc J & Yeaple, Stephen R, 2003. "Export versus FDI," CEPR Discussion Papers 3741, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. James R. Markusen & Anthony J. Venables, 2021. "Multinational firms and the new trade theory," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: BROADENING TRADE THEORY Incorporating Market Realities into Traditional Models, chapter 3, pages 47-67, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Outsourcing Versus FDI in Industry Equilibrium," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 317-327, 04/05.
    6. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, February.
    7. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan & Szeidl, Adam, 2006. "Optimal integration strategies for the multinational firm," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 216-238, September.
    8. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    9. Karolina Ekholm & Rikard Forslid & James R. Markusen, 2021. "Export-Platform Foreign Direct Investment," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: BROADENING TRADE THEORY Incorporating Market Realities into Traditional Models, chapter 6, pages 111-130, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2005. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 135-159.
    11. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Managerial incentives and the international organization of production," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 237-262, July.
    12. James R. MARKUSEN, 2021. "Multinationals, Multi-Plant Economies, And The Gains From Trade," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: BROADENING TRADE THEORY Incorporating Market Realities into Traditional Models, chapter 1, pages 3-24, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    13. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    direct foreign investment; intra-firm trade; multinational corporations; vertical integration;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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