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The Effects of Outbound Foreign Direct Investment on the Domestic Capital Stock

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  • Martin Feldstein

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effect of outbound foreign direct investment (FDI) on the domestic capital stock. The first part of the paper shows that only about 20 percent of the value of assets owned by U.S. affiliates abroad is financed by cross-border flows of capital from the United States. An additional 18 per cent represents retained earnings attributable to U.S. investors. The rest is financed locally by foreign debt and equity. The second part of the paper analyzes data for the major industrial countries of the OECD and finds that each dollar of cross- border flow of foreign direct investment reduces domestic investment by approximately one dollar. This dollar for dollar displacement of domestic investment by outbound FDI is consistent with the Feldstein-Horioka picture of segmented capital markets. It suggests that while portfolio funds are largely segmented into national capital markets, direct investment can achieve cross-border capital flows. A dollar outflow of direct investment reduces domestic investment by a dollar and this is not offset by a change in international portfolio investment. This ability of foreign direct investment to circumvent the segmented national capital markets also appears in the expanded use of foreign debt and equity capital to finance the capital accumulation of foreign affiliates of U.S. firms. Taken together, these estimates suggest that each dollar of foreign assets acquired by U.S. foreign affiliates reduces the U.S. domestic capital stock by between 20 cents and 38 cents.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Feldstein, 1994. "The Effects of Outbound Foreign Direct Investment on the Domestic Capital Stock," NBER Working Papers 4668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4668
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    1. Gordon, Roger H. & Hines, James Jr, 2002. "International taxation," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 28, pages 1935-1995, Elsevier.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods

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