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FDI Flows and Multinational Firm Activity

Author

Listed:
  • Pol Antras

    () (Economics Harvard University)

  • Mihir A. Desai
  • Fritz Foley

Abstract

How are foreign direct investment (FDI) flows and patterns of multinational firm (MNC) activity determined in a world with frictions in financial contracting and variations in institutional environments? As developers of technologies, MNCs have long been characterized as having comparative advantage in monitoring the deployment of their technology. The model shows that, in a setting of non-contractible monitoring and financial frictions, this comparative advantage endogenously gives rise to MNC activity and FDI flows. The mechanism generating MNC activity is not the risk of technological expropriation by local partners but the demands of external funders who require MNC participation to ensure value maximization by local entrepreneurs. The model delivers distinctive predictions for the impact of weak institutions on patterns of MNC activity and FDI flows, with weak institutional environments limiting the scale of multinational firm activity but increasing the share of that activity that is financed by multinational parents through FDI flows. In addition to accounting for distinctions between patterns of MNC activity and FDI flows, the model can help explain substantial two-way FDI flows between countries with high levels of financial development and small and unbalanced FDI flows between countries with different levels of financial development. The main predictions of the model are tested and confirmed using firm-level data on U.S. outbound FDI

Suggested Citation

  • Pol Antras & Mihir A. Desai & Fritz Foley, 2006. "FDI Flows and Multinational Firm Activity," 2006 Meeting Papers 266, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:266
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    File URL: http://econweb.fas.harvard.edu/faculty/antras/papers/ADFFinance.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    FDI; Multinationals; Financial Constraints; Capital Structure;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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