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The Global Agglomeration of Multinational Firms

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  • Laura Alfaro
  • Maggie Chen

Abstract

The explosion of multinational activities in recent decades is rapidly transforming the global landscape of industrial production. But are the emerging clusters of multinational production the rule or the exception? What drives the offshore agglomeration of multinational firms in comparison to the agglomeration of domestic firms? Using a unique worldwide plant-level dataset that reports detailed location, ownership, and operation information for plants in over 100 countries, we construct a spatially continuous index of agglomeration and analyze the different patterns underlying the global economic geography of multinational and non-multinational firms. We present new stylized facts that suggest the offshore clusters of multinationals are not a simple reflection of domestic industrial clusters. Agglomeration economies including technology diffusion and capital-good market externality play a more important role in the offshore agglomeration of multinationals than the agglomeration of domestic firms. These findings remain robust when we explore the process of agglomeration.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Alfaro & Maggie Chen, 2009. "The Global Agglomeration of Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 15576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15576
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    Cited by:

    1. Serafinelli, Michel, 2013. "Good Firms, Worker Flows and Productivity," MPRA Paper 49055, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 12 Aug 2013.
    2. Riccardo Crescenzi & Kerwin Datu & Simona Iammarino, 2016. "European Cities and Foreign Investment Networks," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1616, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jul 2016.
    3. Machikita, Tomohiro & Ueki, Yasushi, 2012. "Impact of Production Linkages on Industrial Upgrading in ASEAN, the People’s Republic of China, and India: Organizational Evidence of a Global Supply Chain," ADBI Working Papers 399, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    4. Riccardo Crescenzi & Carlo Pietrobelli & Roberta Rabellotti, 2016. "Regional strategic assets and the location strategies of emerging countries’ multinationals in Europe," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 645-667, April.
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    7. Carluccio, Juan & Fally, Thibault, 2013. "Foreign entry and spillovers with technological incompatibilities in the supply chain," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 123-135.
    8. Steven Brakman & Harry Garretsen & Charles van Marrewijk, 2015. "The Location of Cross-Border Mergers & Acquisitions in the USA," CESifo Working Paper Series 5331, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. William R. Kerr & Scott Duke Kominers, 2015. "Agglomerative Forces and Cluster Shapes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 877-899, October.
    10. Lorenzo Burlon, 2012. "How Do Aggregate Fluctuations Depend on the Network Structure of the Economy?," Working Papers in Economics 278, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    11. Marcon, Eric & Puech, Florence, 2017. "A typology of distance-based measures of spatial concentration," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 56-67.
    12. Laura Alfaro & Maggie X. Chen, 2017. "Transportation Cost and the Geography of Foreign Investment," Harvard Business School Working Papers 17-061, Harvard Business School.
    13. Nicola Cortinovis & Riccardo Crescenzi & Frank van Oort, 2018. "Multinational enterprises, industrial relatedness and employment in European regions," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1802, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jan 2018.
    14. Sun, Churen & Yu, Zhihao & Zhang, Tao, 2012. "Agglomeration and Trade with Heterogeneous Firms," MPRA Paper 49001, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 17 Aug 2013.

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    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location

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