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The Real Exchange Rate and Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: Relative Wealth vs. Relative Wage Effects

  • Michael W. Klein
  • Eric Rosengren

There has been a significant correlation between United States inward foreign direct investment and the United States real exchange rate since the 1970s. Two alternative reasons for this relationship are that the real exchange rate affects the relative cost of labor and that the real exchange rate alters relative wealth across countries. In this paper we explore these alternatives by examining the determinants of four measures of inward foreign direct investment to the United States from seven industrial countries over the period 1979 to 1991. We find strong evidence that relative wealth significantly affects U.S. inward foreign direct investment. We find no evidence that relative wages have a significant impact on the determination of U.S. foreign direct investment. These results are robust to the choice of countries in our sample and when controlling for changes in tax codes.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4192.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4192.

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Date of creation: Oct 1992
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Publication status: published as Journal of International Economics, vol. 36, no. 3/4, May 1994, p. 373
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4192
Note: ITI IFM
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  1. Joel B. Slemrod, 1990. "Tax Effects on Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: Evidence from a Cross-Country Comparison," NBER Chapters, in: Taxation in the Global Economy, pages 79-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Myron S. Scholes & Mark A. Wolfson, 1989. "The Effects of Changes in Tax Laws on Corporate Reorganization Activity," NBER Working Papers 3095, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Caves, Richard E, 1971. "International Corporations: The Industrial Economics of Foreign Investment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 38(149), pages 1-27, February.
  4. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  5. Kenneth A. Froot & Jeremy C. Stein, 1992. "Exchange Rates and Foreign Direct Investment: An Imperfect Capital Markets Approach," NBER Working Papers 2914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Culem, Claudy G., 1988. "The locational determinants of direct investments among industrialized countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 885-904, April.
  7. Michael J. Boskin & William G. Gale, 1987. "New Results on the Effects of Tax Policy on the International Location of Investment," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 201-222 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Cushman, David O, 1985. "Real Exchange Rate Risk, Expectations, and the Level of Direct Investment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(2), pages 297-308, May.
  9. Swenson, Deborah L., 1994. "The impact of U.S. tax reform on foreign direct investment in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 243-266, June.
  10. Slemrod, J., 1989. "Tax Effects Of Foreign Direct Investment In The U.S.: Evidence From A Cross-Country Comparison," Working Papers 254, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
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