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In Search of Substitution Between Foreign Production and Exports

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  • Bruce A. Blonigen

Abstract

Are foreign production and exports substitutes or complements? The continuing globalization of production makes the question of the relationship between trade and foreign direct investment ever more important. Standard theory of the multinational corporation (MNC) assumes substitution, while previous empirical work examining the relationship has generally found strong evidence of complementarity. This study examines product-level data, which more closely fits the assumption of a single-product firm often used in MNC theory, and finds substantial evidence for both a substitution and a complementarity effect between affiliate production and exports with Japanese automobile parts for the U.S. market. I also test for and find evidence of substitution using product-level data on a set of Japanese-produced final consumer goods. Thus, product-level data allows one to separately identify substitution from complementarity effects (here from vertical production relationships), rather than try to infer them from estimates using more aggregate data. In this sense, the paper highlights the importance of matching the level of data aggregation with the hypotheses being tested. This is particularly true at a time when there is an increasing proliferation of available microeconomic data in the field of international economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce A. Blonigen, 1999. "In Search of Substitution Between Foreign Production and Exports," NBER Working Papers 7154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7154
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business

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