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Fixed Costs and FDI: The Conflicting Effects of Productivity Shocks

  • Assaf Razin
  • Yona Rubinstein
  • Efraim Sadka

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10864.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10864.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10864
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  1. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & Coury, Tarek, 2003. "Trade openness, investment instability and terms-of-trade volatility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 285-306, December.
  2. Barry Eichengreen & Douglas A. Irwin, 1998. "The Role of History in Bilateral Trade Flows," NBER Chapters, in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 33-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James Tobin, 1956. "Estimation of Relationships for Limited Dependent Variables," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 3R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. 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.
  5. Smarzynska, Beata K., 2001. "Pollution havens and foreign direct investment : dirty secret or popular myth?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2673, The World Bank.
  6. Fernando Broner & Guido Lorenzoni & Sergio Schmuckler, 2006. "Why Do Emerging Economies Borrow Short Term?," 2006 Meeting Papers 841, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel, 1999. "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 783-826, July.
  8. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  9. Efraim Sadka & Assaf Razin & Yona Rubinstein, 2004. "Which Countries Export FDI, and How Much?," 2004 Meeting Papers 226, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. David L. Carr & James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 2001. "Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 693-708, June.
  11. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2003. "Gravity-defying trade," Working Papers 03-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  12. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Loungani, Prakash & Mody, Ashoka & Razin, Assaf, 2002. "The Global Disconnect: The Role of Transactional Distance and Scale Economies in Gravity Equations," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 526-43, December.
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