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Gravity for FDI


  • Kleinert, Jörn
  • Toubal, Farid


Gravity equations explaining foreign affiliates' sales are ad hoc and hence, estimated coeffcients are hard to interpret. We therefore provide the theoretical underpinnings of the gravity equation applied to the analysis of sales of foreign affiliates of multinational firms. We argue that the success of the gravity equation results from the fact that it can be derived from various theoretical models. We illustrate this point by deriving a gravity equation from three different models of multinational firms. Using data on real affiliate sales, we show how this derived gravity equation can nevertheless be used to discriminate between the different theoretical models. - gravity equation ; multinational firms ; heterogeneity

Suggested Citation

  • Kleinert, Jörn & Toubal, Farid, 2007. "Gravity for FDI," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 313, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuedps:313

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, January.
    2. Markusen, James R., 1984. "Multinationals, multi-plant economies, and the gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 205-226, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Stephen Redding & Anthony Venables, 2004. "Geography and Export Performance: External Market Access and Internal Supply Capacity," NBER Chapters,in: Challenges to Globalization: Analyzing the Economics, pages 95-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Braconier, Henrik & Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Urban, Dieter, 2002. "Vertical FDI Revisited," Working Paper Series 579, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    6. Henrik Braconier & Pehr-Johan Norbäck & Dieter Urban, 2005. "Reconciling the Evidence on the Knowledge-capital Model," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 770-786, September.
    7. Peter Egger & Michael Pfaffermayr, 2004. "Distance, trade and FDI: a Hausman-Taylor SUR approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 227-246.
    8. Brainard, S Lael, 1997. "An Empirical Assessment of the Proximity-Concentration Trade-off between Multinational Sales and Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 520-544, September.
    9. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond J. Mataloni & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2005. "Vertical Production Networks in Multinational Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 664-678, November.
    10. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 451-471, June.
    11. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
    12. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    13. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    14. Venables, Anthony J., 1999. "Fragmentation and multinational production," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 935-945, April.
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    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models


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