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An Assignment Theory of Foreign Direct Investment

  • Stephen Yeaple
  • Volker Nocke

    ()

    (Department of Economics University of Pennsylvania)

We develop an assignment theory to analyse the volume and composition of foreign direct investment (FDI). Firms conduct FDI by either engaging in greenfield investment or in cross-border acquisitions. Cross-border acquisitions involve firms trading heterogeneous corporate assets to exploit complementarities, while greenfield FDI involves setting up a new production division in the foreign country. In equilibrium, greenfield FDI and cross-border acquisitions coexist within the same industry, but the composition of FDI between these modes varies with firm and country characteristics. Firms engaging in greenfield investment are systematically more efficient than those engaging in cross-border acquisitions. Furthermore, most FDI takes the form of cross-border acquisitions when production-cost differences between countries are small, while greenfield investment plays a more important role for FDI from high-cost into low-cost countries. These results capture important features of the data. Copyright 2008, Wiley-Blackwell.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2005 Meeting Papers with number 146.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed005:146
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  1. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting trade: firms, industries, and export destinations," Staff Report 332, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
  4. Giovanni Maggi & Gene M. Grossman, 2000. "Diversity and Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1255-1275, December.
  5. Vojislav Maksimovic, 2001. "The Market for Corporate Assets: Who Engages in Mergers and Asset Sales and Are There Efficiency Gains?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2019-2065, December.
  6. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," NBER Working Papers 9740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Managerial incentives and the international organization of production," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 237-262, July.
  8. Richard E. Caves, 1998. "Industrial Organization and New Findings on the Turnover and Mobility of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1947-1982, December.
  9. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2008. "An Assignment Theory of Foreign Direct Investment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 529-557.
  10. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
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  12. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond J. Mataloni & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2003. "Vertical Production Networks in Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 9723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Antràs, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Global Sourcing," CEPR Discussion Papers 4170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. J Peter Neary, 2004. "Cross-Border Mergers as Instruments of Comparative Advantage," Working Papers 200404, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  15. repec:rus:hseeco:121605 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. 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.
  17. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Scholarly Articles 3445092, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2004. "Mergers and the Composition of International Commerce," NBER Working Papers 10405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. repec:rus:hseeco:121607 is not listed on IDEAS
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