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On the Magnet Effect of Foreign Direct Investment


  • Pao-Li Chang

    () (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)

  • Chia-Hui Lu

    () (Academia Sinica, Taiwan)


We extend Antras and Helpman (2004) on firm heterogeneity and organizational choice to a dynamic setting with FDI uncertainty, in which the probability of investment failure decreases with the host country's infrastructure level and increases with the technological complexity facing each firm. Moreover, it decreases over time as the accumulated mass of firms succeeding in FDI increases. We show that a minimum level of infrastructure is required to trigger a first wave of industrial migration. We then formalize the often noted "magnet effect" of FDI-the first wave of industrial migration generates positive externality (information spillover) for subsequent investors, which stimulates a second wave of industrial migration. The process continues until the power of the "magnet" reaches its steady-state level. In contrast with the predictions in Antras and Helpman (2004), we show that firms with intermediate productivity levels are the ones migrate first, while the most productive and the least productive firms tend to stay behind. This non-monotonic relationship between firms' productivity and their FDI propensities is consistent with the patterns of Taiwanese firms undertaking FDI in China.

Suggested Citation

  • Pao-Li Chang & Chia-Hui Lu, 2006. "On the Magnet Effect of Foreign Direct Investment," Working Papers 21-2006, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:21-2006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Manisha Chakrabarty & Anke Schmalenbach, 2002. "The Effect of Current Income on Aggregate Consumption," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 33(3), pages 297-317.
    2. B. Bhaskara Rao, 2005. "Testing Hall's permanent income hypothesis for a developing country: the case of Fiji," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 245-248.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bremer, Marc & Inoue, Kotaro & Kato, Hideaki Kiyoshi, 2017. "Empirical evidence of coercive tender offers in Japan," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 71-86.

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