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Firm Heterogeneity and the Structure of U.S. Multinational Activity: An Empirical Analysis

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  • Stephen Yeaple

Abstract

We use firm-level data for U.S. multinational enterprises (MNE) and the model of firm heterogeneity first presented in Helpman, Melitz, and Yeaple (2004) to make four empirical contributions. First, we show that the most productive U.S. firms invest in a larger number of foreign countries and sell more in each country in which they operate. Second, we assess the importance of firm heterogeneity in the structure of MNE activity. Third, we use the model to identify the mechanisms through which country characteristics affect the structure of MNE activity. Finally, we provide a systematic assessment of the model's shortcomings in order to inform the development of new theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Yeaple, 2008. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Structure of U.S. Multinational Activity: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 14072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14072
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
    2. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
    3. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2003. "Export versus FDI," NBER Working Papers 9439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 105-130, Summer.
    5. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2011. "Zeros, Quality, and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 60-88, May.
    6. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, September.
    7. 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.
    8. Volker Nocke, 2006. "A Gap for Me: Entrepreneurs and Entry," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 929-956, September.
    9. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2003. "Heterogeneity and the FDI versus export decision of Japanese manufacturers," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 448-467, December.
    10. Wolfgang Keller & Stephen R. Yeaple, "undated". "Global Production and Trade in the Knowledge Economy," Discussion Papers 09/07, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    11. Sourafel Girma & Richard Kneller & Mauro Pisu, 2005. "Exports versus FDI: An Empirical Test," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 141(2), pages 193-218, July.
    12. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2008. "FDI as an outcome of the market for corporate control: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 2-20, January.
    13. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Andersson & Hans Lˆˆf, 2009. "Learning-by-Exporting Revisited: The Role of Intensity and Persistence," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(4), pages 893-916, December.
    2. Hongshik Lee, 2010. "Decision To Invest Abroad: The Case Of South Korean Multinationals," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 281-302, May.
    3. Wolfgang Keller & Stephen R. Yeaple, "undated". "Global Production and Trade in the Knowledge Economy," Discussion Papers 09/07, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    4. Stanley B Watt, 2007. "Firm Heterogeneity and Weak Intellectual Property Rights," IMF Working Papers 07/161, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Deniz Erdem, 2011. "Foreign Direct Investments, Energy Efficiency and Innovation Dynamics," EIIW Discussion paper disbei189, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
    6. Deniz Erdem, 2012. "Foreign direct investments, energy efficiency, and innovation dynamics," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 24(2), pages 119-133, June.
    7. Co, Catherine Yap, 2010. "Intra- and inter-firm US trade," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 260-277, April.
    8. Erdal Yalcin & Davide Sala, 2014. "Uncertain Productivity Growth and the Choice between FDI and Export," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 189-208, February.
    9. Yong-Seok Choi & Siwook Lee, 2013. "Productivity, Markups and Export Intensity: Evidence from Korean Manufacturing," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 29, pages 329-350.
    10. Bas, Maria, 2012. "Input-trade liberalization and firm export decisions: Evidence from Argentina," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 481-493.
    11. WAKASUGI Ryuhei & Hongyong ZHANG, 2012. "Effects of Ownership on Exports and FDI: Evidence from Chinese firms," Discussion papers 12058, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business

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