IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Merits of Horizontal versus Vertical FDI in the Presence of Uncertainty

  • Joshua Aizenman
  • Nancy Marion

This paper examines the impact of uncertainty on the profitability of vertical and horizontal foreign direct investment (FDI). Vertical FDI takes place when the multinational fragments the production process internationally, locating each stage of production in the country where it can be done at the least cost. Horizontal FDI occurs when the multinational undertakes the same production activities in multiple countries. We consider a model where the risk-neutral multinational must commit its investment prior to the realization of shocks. The multinational has monopoly power and confronts two types of risk. It may face random productivity shocks or encounter a host country that tries to confiscate its rents. We show that greater uncertainty reduces the expected income from vertical FDI but increases the expected income from horizontal FDI. In addition, predatory actions by the host country are more costly to the multinational that has structured its production vertically rather than horizontally. Consequently, increased uncertainty should encourage horizontal FDI but discourage vertical FDI. If vertical FDI is more likely to flow into emerging markets and horizontal FDI into mature markets, then the empirical finding that most FDI is horizontal rather than vertical might be due, in part, to the greater uncertainty associated with emerging markets. We report cross-country regression results that provide some support for the predictions of the model. Volatility appears to have a differential impact on FDI inflows into mature and emerging markets. For mature markets that supposedly attract mainly horizontal FDI, greater volatility significantly increases FDI inflows. For emerging markets that receive relatively more vertical FDI inflows, increased volatility does not increase FDI inflows.

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 8631.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Aizenman, Joshua and Nancy Marion. "The Merits Of Horizontal Versus Vertical FDI In The Presence Of Uncertainty," Journal of International Economics, 2004, v62(1,Jan), 125-148.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8631
Note: ITI
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.:

as in new window
  1. Sheshinski, Eytan & Dreze, Jacques H, 1976. "Demand Fluctuations, Capacity Utilization, and Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 731-42, December.
  2. Eckhard Janeba, 2000. "Tax Competition When Governments Lack Commitment: Excess Capacity as a Countervailing Threat," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1508-1519, December.
  3. Rosanne Altshuler & Harry Grubert & T. Scott Newlon, 2000. "Has U.S. Investment Abroad Become More Sensitive to Tax Rates?," NBER Chapters, in: International Taxation and Multinational Activity, pages 9-38 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pagan, Adrian, 1984. "Econometric Issues in the Analysis of Regressions with Generated Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 221-47, February.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Goldberg, Linda S & Kolstad, Charles D, 1995. "Foreign Direct Investment, Exchange Rate Variability and Demand Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(4), pages 855-73, November.
  7. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies, 2001. "The Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties on U.S. FDI Activity," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2001-14, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 01 Jan 2001.
  8. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
  9. Spiegel, M.M., 1992. "Sovereign Risk Exposure with Potential Liquidation: the Performance of Alternative Forms of External Finance," Working Papers 92-03, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  10. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J., 1998. "Multinational firms and the new trade theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 183-203, December.
  11. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, June.
  12. Klein, Michael W. & Rosengren, Eric, 1994. "The real exchange rate and foreign direct investment in the United States : Relative wealth vs. relative wage effects," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3-4), pages 373-389, May.
  13. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 1-11, February.
  15. Froot, Kenneth A & Stein, Jeremy C, 1991. "Exchange Rates and Foreign Direct Investment: An Imperfect Capital Markets Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1191-217, November.
  16. David L. Carr & James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 2001. "Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 693-708, June.
  17. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1995. "Foreign Direct Investment and Relative Wages: Evidence from Mexico's Maquiladoras," NBER Working Papers 5122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Reuven Glick & Andrew K. Rose, 2001. "Does a Currency Union Affect Trade? The Time Series Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  20. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy P, 1993. "Policy Uncertainty, Persistence and Growth," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(2), pages 145-63, June.
  21. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
  22. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond J. Mataloni, Jr. & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Expansion Strategies of U.S. Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 8433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link Between Volatility and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy Marion, 2001. "The Merits of Horizontal versus Vertical FDI in the Presence of Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 8631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Blonigen, Bruce A, 1997. "Firm-Specific Assets and the Link between Exchange Rates and Foreign Direct Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 447-65, June.
  26. Sung, Hongmo & Lapan, Harvey E., 2000. "Strategic Foreign Direct Investment and Exchange Rate Uncertainty," Staff General Research Papers 1335, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  27. James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 2001. "General-Equilibrium Approaches to the Multinational Firm: A Review of Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Joshua Aizenman, 2002. "Volatility, employment and the patterns of FDI in emerging markets," NBER Working Papers 9397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Aizenman, Joshua, 1994. "Monetary and Real Shocks, Productive Capacity and Exchange Rate Regimes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 61(244), pages 407-34, November.
  30. Beata K. Smarzynska & Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "Corruption and Composition of Foreign Direct Investment: Firm-Level Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7969, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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:8631. 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.