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Foreign Production by U.S. Firms and Parent Firm Employment


  • Robert E. Lipsey


Despite the persistent fears that production abroad by U.S. multinationals reduces employment at home, there has, in fact, been almost no aggregate shift of production or employment to foreign countries. Some continuing shifts to foreign locations by U.S. manufacturing firms have been largely offset by shifts into the United States by foreign manufacturing multinationals. An analysis of individual firm data indicates that higher levels of production in developing countries by a firm are associated with lower employment at home for a given level of production. The reason is that U.S. multinationals tend to allocate their more labor-intensive production to developing country affiliates and retain more capital-intensive and skill-intensive operations in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert E. Lipsey, 1999. "Foreign Production by U.S. Firms and Parent Firm Employment," NBER Working Papers 7357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7357
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blomstrom, Magnus & Fors, Gunnar & Lipsey, Robert E, 1997. "Foreign Direct Investment and Employment: Home Country Experience in the United States and Sweden," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1787-1797, November.
    2. Robert E. Lipsey & Magnus Blomstrom & Eric D. Ramstetter, 1998. "Internationalized Production in World Output," NBER Chapters,in: Geography and Ownership as Bases for Economic Accounting, pages 83-138 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:hhs:iuiwop:490 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Robert E. Lipsey, 1989. "The Internationalization of Production," NBER Working Papers 2923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2005. "On the Design of Hierarchies: Coordination versus Specialization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 675-702, August.
    2. Lundan, Sarianna M., 2007. "The Home Country Effects of Internationalisation," Discussion Papers 1100, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    3. Jozef Konings & Alan Patrick Murphy, 2003. "Do Multinational Enterprises Relocate Employment to Low Wage Regions? Evidence from European Multinationals," LICOS Discussion Papers 13103, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    4. Konings, Jozef & Murphy, Alan, 2005. "Do Multinational Enterprises Relocate Employment to Low Wage Regions? Evidence from European Multinationals," Research Technical Papers 1/RT/05, Central Bank of Ireland.
    5. Rosario Crinò, 2007. "Offshoring, Multinationals and Labor Market: A Review of the Empirical Literature," KITeS Working Papers 196, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jan 2007.
    6. Jones Charles I., 2001. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-45, August.
    7. Blanas, Sotiris, 2012. "Intra-firm trade and employment in US manufacturing," Kiel Advanced Studies Working Papers 458, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    8. Konings, Jozef, 2004. "The employment effects of foreign direct investment," EIB Papers 4/2004, European Investment Bank, Economics Department.
    9. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy P. Marion, 1999. "Uncertainty and the disappearance of international credit," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Sep.
    10. Giorgio Barba Navaretti & Anna Falzoni & Alessandro Turrini, 2001. "The decision to invest in a low-wage country: Evidence from Italian textiles and clothing multinationals," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(4), pages 451-470.
    11. Anna Maria Falzoni & Mara Grasseni, 2005. "Home Country Effects of Investing Abroad: Evidence from Quantile Regressions," KITeS Working Papers 170, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jun 2005.
    12. Giorgio Barba Navaretti & Davide Castellani & Anne-Célia Disdier, 2006. "How Does Investing in Cheap Labour Countries Affect Performance at Home? France and Italy," Development Working Papers 215, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    13. Greenaway, David & Nelson, Douglas, 2000. "The Assessment: Globalization and Labour-Market Adjustment," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 1-11, Autumn.
    14. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Horst Feldmann, 2011. "The Unemployment Puzzle of Corporate Taxation," Public Finance Review, , vol. 39(6), pages 743-769, November.
    16. B. Douglas Bernheim & Lorenzo Forni & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1999. "The adequacy of life insurance: evidence from the health and retirement survey," Working Paper 9914, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    17. Giorgio Barba Navaretti & Davide Castellani, 2003. "Investments Abroad and Performance at Home Evidence from Italian Multinationals," Development Working Papers 180, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    18. Lipsey, Robert E. & Ramstetter, Eric & Blomström, Magnus, 2000. "Outward FDI and Home Country Exports: Japan, the United States, and Sweden," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 369, Stockholm School of Economics.
    19. Robert E. Lipsey & Eric D. Ramstetter & Magnus Blomstrom, 2000. "Outward FDI and Parent Exports and Employment: Japan, the United States, and Sweden," NBER Working Papers 7623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Davide Castellani & Ilaria Mariotti & Lucia Piscitello, 2006. "Outward investments and skill upgrading. Evidence from the Italian case," KITeS Working Papers 185, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Nov 2006.
    21. Robert E. Lipsey, 2000. "Interpreting Developed Countries' Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 7810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand


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