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Fixed Costs and FDI: The Conflicting Effects of Productivity Shocks

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  • Assaf Razin
  • Yona Rubinstein
  • Efraim Sadka

Abstract

The paper develops a model with lumpy setup costs of new investment, which govern the flows of FDI. Foreign investment decisions are two-fold: whether to export FDI and, if so, how much. The first decision is governed by total profitability considerations, whereas the second is governed by marginal profitability considerations. A positive productivity shock in the host country may, on the one hand, increases the volume of the desired FDI flows to the host country but, on the other hand, somewhat counter-intuitively, lowers the likelihood of the making new FDI flows by the source country, at all. Every country is potentially both a source for FDI flows to several host countries, and a host for FDI flows from several source countries. Thus, the model could generate two-way FDI flows, but not all source-host FDI flows get realized. We employ a sample of 24 OECD countries, over the period 1981-1998. We observe many pairs of countries with no FDI flows between them. Zero reported flows could indicate measurement errors, or true zeroes that are due to fixed costs (in situations where they dominate marginal productivity conditions). Empirical literature on the determinants of FDI flows which uses the Tobit procedure aims at a correction for measurement errors provides nevertheless biased estimates in the presence of fixed costs. By employing the Heckman selection procedure, we demonstrate how to get unbiased estimates of the fixed-costs effects on FDI flows. Controlling for the selection into source-host pairs of countries, and for time and country fixed effects, the paper sheds light on the importance of several covariates, such as income per capita, education, and financial risk ratings as key determinants of volume of FDI flows. While the coefficients of both the source- and host-country average years of schooling are positive and significant in the flow equation, the magnitude of the source country coefficient is more than twice that of the host country. That is, the richer the source country is relative to the host country, the larger are the FDI flows which occur between them.

Suggested Citation

  • Assaf Razin & Yona Rubinstein & Efraim Sadka, 2004. "Fixed Costs and FDI: The Conflicting Effects of Productivity Shocks," NBER Working Papers 10864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10864 Note: IFM ITI
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ricardo Hausmann & Federico Sturzenegger, 2006. "Global Imbalances or Bad Accounting? The Missing Dark Matter in the Wealth of Nations," CID Working Papers 124, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    2. Guntram Wolff, 2007. "Foreign Direct Investment in the Enlarged EU: Do Taxes Matter and to What Extent?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 327-346, July.
    3. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 2006. "Vying for Foreign Direct Investment: A EU-type Model of Tax Competition," NBER Working Papers 11991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Åsa Hansson & Karin Olofsdotter, 2014. "Labor Taxation and FDI Decisions in the European Union," Open Economies Review, Springer, pages 263-287.
    5. Assaf Razin & Yona Rubinstein & Efraim Sadka, 2005. "Corporate Taxation and Bilateral FDI with Threshold Barriers," NBER Working Papers 11196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bruce Blonigen, 2005. "A Review of the Empirical Literature on FDI Determinants," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, pages 383-403.
    7. Maurico Obstfeld, 2004. "External adjustment," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), pages 541-568.
    8. Fuentes, Miguel & Saravia, Diego, 2010. "Sovereign defaulters: Do international capital markets punish them?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 336-347.
    9. Albert van der Horst & Leon Bettendorf & Hugo Rojas-Romagosa, 2007. "Will corporate tax consolidation improve efficiency in the EU?," CPB Document 141, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    10. Brouwer, Jelle & Paap, Richard & Viaene, Jean-Marie, 2008. "The trade and FDI effects of EMU enlargement," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 188-208, March.
    11. Bruce Blonigen, 2005. "A Review of the Empirical Literature on FDI Determinants," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, pages 383-403.
    12. Guo, Yan, 2013. "Strategic trade policy, cost uncertainty and FDI determinants," ISU General Staff Papers 201301010800004464, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    13. Buch, Claudia M. & Kleinert, Jorn & Toubal, Farid, 2006. "Where enterprises lead, people follow? Links between migration and FDI in Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(8), pages 2017-2036, November.
    14. Miguel Fuentes & Pablo Ibarrarán, 2012. "Firm dynamics and real exchange rate fluctuations: Does trade openness matter? Evidence from Mexico's manufacturing sector," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 409-469.
    15. Eicher, Theo S. & Helfman, Lindy & Lenkoski, Alex, 2012. "Robust FDI determinants: Bayesian Model Averaging in the presence of selection bias," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, pages 637-651.
    16. Fuentes, Miguel & Saravia, Diego, 2010. "Sovereign defaulters: Do international capital markets punish them?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 336-347.
    17. Juann H. Hung & Young Jin Kim, 2006. "Implications of Past Currency Crises for the U.S. Current Account Adjustment: Working Paper 2006-07," Working Papers 17861, Congressional Budget Office.
    18. Garrett, Jinzhuo Z., 2016. "Explaining asymmetries in bilateral FDI flows," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 155-171.
    19. Eicher, Theo S. & Helfman, Lindy & Lenkoski, Alex, 2012. "Robust FDI determinants: Bayesian Model Averaging in the presence of selection bias," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, pages 637-651.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F37 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Finance Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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