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Physical Capital, Knowledge Capital and the Choice Between FDI and Outsourcing

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  • Yongmin Chen
  • Ignatius J. Horstmann
  • James R. Markusen

Abstract

There exist two approaches in the literature concerning the multinational firm's mode choice for foreign production between an owned subsidiary and a licensing contract. One approach considers environments where the firm is transferring primarily knowledge-based assets. An important assumption there is that the relevant knowledge is absorbed by the local manager or licensee over the course of time: knowledge is non-excludable. More recently, a number of influential papers have adopted a property-right view of the firm, assuming the application abroad of physical capital, the owner of which retains full and exclusive rights to the capital should a relationship break down. In this paper we combine both forms of capital assets in a single model. The model predicts that foreign direct investment (owned subsidiaries) is more likely than licensing when the ratio of knowledge capital to physical capital is high, or when market value is high relative to the book value of capital (high Tobin's-Q).

Suggested Citation

  • Yongmin Chen & Ignatius J. Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 2008. "Physical Capital, Knowledge Capital and the Choice Between FDI and Outsourcing," NBER Working Papers 14515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14515
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:krk:eberjl:v:5:y:2017:i:1:p:151-167 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Karpaty, Patrik & Gustavsson Tingvall, Patrik, 2011. "Offshoring of Services and Corruption: Do Firms Escape Corrupt Countries?," Working Papers 2011:2, Örebro University, School of Business, revised 28 May 2012.
    3. KWON Hyeog Ug, 2012. "Offshoring of Japanese Small and Medium Enterprises (Japanese)," Discussion Papers (Japanese) 12004, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    4. Pol Antràs, 2014. "Grossman–Hart (1986) Goes Global: Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights, and the International Organization of Production," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(suppl_1), pages 118-175.
    5. JINJI Naoto & ZHANG Xingyuan & HARUNA Shoji, 2011. "Does Tobin's q Matter for Firms' Choices of Globalization Mode?," Discussion papers 11061, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    6. Heyman Fredrik & Tingvall Patrik Gustavsson, 2015. "The Dynamics of Offshoring and Institutions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(4), pages 1975-2016, October.
    7. Antrà s, Pol & Yeaple, Stephen R., 2014. "Multinational Firms and the Structure of International Trade," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
    8. repec:bla:worlde:v:40:y:2017:i:7:p:1266-1290 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Nowak, Verena, 2016. "Integration or Outsourcing: Combining Ex Ante Distortions and Ex Post Inefficiencies," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145897, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Tingvall, Patrik, 2011. "Dynamic Effects of Corruption on Offshoring," Ratio Working Papers 182, The Ratio Institute.
    11. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:778-793 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures

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