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Proximity-Concentration versus Factor Proportion Explanation: The Case of Swedish Multinationals in the EU


  • Mathä, Thomas

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)


Both proximity-concentration trade-off and factor proportions explanations have been forwarded to explain the existence of multinational enterprises. This paper analyses to what extent these different explanations are supported empirically, in making a first attempt to distinguish explicitly between horizontally and vertically integrated multinationals. The affiliate production share of horizontally integrated multinationals is mainly explained by low plant-level economies of scale, large host country size and similarities in relative factor endowments. Differences for vertical multinationals appear with regard to firm- and plant-level economies of scale, country size, trade costs and relative factor endowments at the national and sectoral level.

Suggested Citation

  • Mathä, Thomas, 2000. "Proximity-Concentration versus Factor Proportion Explanation: The Case of Swedish Multinationals in the EU," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 416, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 08 Dec 2000.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0416

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J., 2000. "The theory of endowment, intra-industry and multi-national trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 209-234, December.
    2. Motta, Massimo, 1992. "Multinational firms and the tariff-jumping argument : A game theoretic analysis with some unconventional conclusions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1557-1571, December.
    3. Markusen, James R., 1984. "Multinationals, multi-plant economies, and the gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 205-226, May.
    4. Karolina Ekholm,, "undated". "Factor Endowments and the Pattern of Affiliate Production by Multinational Enterprises," Discussion Papers 97/19, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. James R. Markusen & Anthony J. Venables & Denise Eby Konan & Kevin H. Zhang, 1996. "A Unified Treatment of Horizontal Direct Investment, Vertical Direct Investment, and the Pattern of Trade in Goods and Services," NBER Working Papers 5696, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. Horstmann, Ignatius J. & Markusen, James R., 1992. "Endogenous market structures in international trade (natura facit saltum)," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-2), pages 109-129, February.
    10. Roger Svensson, 1996. "Effects of overseas production on home country exports: Evidence based on Swedish multinationals," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 132(2), pages 304-329, September.
    11. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 451-471, June.
    12. S. Lael Brainard, 1993. "An Empirical Assessment of the Factor Proportions Explanation of Multi-National Sales," NBER Working Papers 4583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. 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.
    14. Ignatius J. Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1990. "Endogenous Market Structures in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    Trade Costs; Country Size; Factor Endowments; Horizontal & Vertical Multinationals;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business


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