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The Comovement of Returns and Investment Within the Multinational Firm

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  • Mihir A. Desai
  • C. Fritz Foley

Abstract

Can financial integration, particularly the cross-border investments of multinational firms, help explain the synchronization of business cycles? This paper presents evidence on the comovement of returns and investment within U.S. multinational firms to address this question. These firms constitute significant fractions of economic output and investment in most large economies, suggesting that they could create significant economic linkages. Aggregate measures of rates of return and investment rates of U.S. multinational firms located in different countries are highly correlated across countries. Firm-level regressions demonstrate that rates of return and investment rates of affiliates are highly correlated with the rates of return and investment of the affiliate's parent and other affiliates within the same parent system, controlling for country and industry factors. The evidence on these interrelationships and the importance of multinationals to local economies suggests that global firms may be an important channel for transmitting economic shocks. This evidence also sheds light on asset pricing puzzles related to the diversification benefits provided by multinational firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley, 2004. "The Comovement of Returns and Investment Within the Multinational Firm," NBER Working Papers 10785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10785
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    Cited by:

    1. Claudia M. Buch & Alexander Lipponer, 2005. "Business Cycles and FDI: Evidence from German Sectoral Data," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 141(4), pages 732-759, December.
    2. Paolo Panteghini, 2009. "The capital structure of multinational companies under tax competition," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(1), pages 59-81, February.
    3. Burstein, Ariel & Kurz, Christopher & Tesar, Linda, 2008. "Trade, production sharing, and the international transmission of business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 775-795, May.
    4. Mauro Ghinamo & Paolo Panteghini & Federico Revelli, 2010. "FDI determination and corporate tax competition in a volatile world," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 17(5), pages 532-555, October.
    5. Dietrich, Diemo, 2006. "Asset Tangibility and Capital Allocation within Multinational Corporations," IWH Discussion Papers 4/2006, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    6. Paolo Panteghini & Guttorm Schjelderup, 2006. "To Invest or not to Invest: A real options approach to FDIs and tax competition," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 13(6), pages 643-660, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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