IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Changing Patterns of International Investment In and By the United States

Listed author(s):
  • Robert E. Lipsey

The international investment account of the United States has gone through several cycles. Before World War I, the U.S. was a borrower most of the time and an international debtor. Between the two World Wars, it was first a lender and then a refuge for foreign capital. After World War 11, the U.S. became the world's major lender and creditor and in the last few years it has become the world's largest borrower, and, according to the official accounts, even a net debtor. U.S. direct investment abroad began while the U.S. was still an overall borrower and debtor. The technological leaders among U.S. manufacturing firms pioneered in this technique for exploiting their particular knowledge and skills by producing in other countries. The peak in the importance of foreign assets relative to the domestic assets of U.S. companies was probably reached during the early 1970s. While the flow of direct investment from the U.S. has slowed, there has recently been a large inflow of foreign direct investment into the U.S.. That inflow has roughly tripled the share of foreign-owned companies in the U.S. since 1950. While foreign-owned firms accounted for only about 3% per cent of total U.S. employment after all the recent growth in foreign direct investment in the U.S., the shares in manufacturing and wholesale trade were considerably higher. Foreign firms accounted for almost 40 per cent of chemical industry employment, but for less than 10 per cent in all the other industries. The foreign shares in service industries, aside from wholesale trade, increased, but remained below 3 per cent.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2240.

in new window

Date of creation: May 1987
Publication status: published as Feldstein, Martin (ed.) The United States in the World Economy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2240
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Robert E. Lipsey & Irving B. Kravis, 1985. "The Competitive Position of U.S. Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 1557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Baldwin, Robert E, 1979. "Determinants of Trade and Foreign Investment: Further Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(1), pages 40-48, February.
  3. Ilse Mintz, 1951. "Introduction to "Deterioration in the Quality of Foreign Bonds Issued in the United States, 1920-1930"," NBER Chapters,in: Deterioration in the Quality of Foreign Bonds Issued in the United States, 1920-1930, pages 1-7 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ilse Mintz, 1951. "Deterioration in the Quality of Foreign Bonds Issued in the United States, 1920-1930," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number mint51-1, December.
  5. Stern, Robert M. & Maskus, Keith E., 1981. "Determinants of the structure of U.S. foreign trade, 1958-1976," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 207-224, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2240. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.