Foreign Direct Investment and Agglomeration: Evidence from Italy
A number of empirical works analyzed the effect of agglomeration on multinational investment verifying whether agglomerated areas attract foreign direct investment. Despite the large amount of studies, there has been no systematic attempts to disentangle whether FDI are drawn by the concentration of firms within the same sector (specialization) or within different sectors (diversity). Furthermore, the question whether firms’ size of the host area influences multinational investment is still unanswered. This paper provides an empirical evidence on the role of agglomeration economies in attracting foreign direct investments within Italian regions and provinces, distinguishing between specialization and diversity externalities, and on the role of firms’ size in affecting foreign investors’ choices. We employ a new territorial data set on foreign direct investment collected by the Italian Foreign Exchange Office for industrial and service sectors. We find a strong evidence that specialized geographic areas attract FDI, whereas diversified areas draw FDI only for industrial sectors; finally there is little evidence that firm size has an impact on FDI, if anything, only big firms in Southern regions would seem to affect positively foreign investor decisions.
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