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Vertical foreign direct investment: Evidence from Japanese and U.S. multinational enterprises

By Kiyoyasu Tanaka

Abstract

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in developing countries has increased since the 1990s, but there is mixed evidence of vertical FDI associated with factor-seeking motives. This paper estimates the vertical motive of offshore production by multinational enterprises (MNEs) by exploiting past schooling characteristics as instruments for skilled-labor abundance in a host country. Using panel data on Japanese and U.S. MNEs in the 1990s, I find that skilled-labor abundance has a significantly negative impact on sales of manufacturing foreign affiliate only for Japanese MNEs. The results suggest that vertical FDI activity was more prevalent in Japanese MNEs than U.S. MNEs. A plausible explanation is that Japanese MNEs might be more vertically integrated with their offshore production than U.S. MNEs. A difference in foreign outsourcing activities could generate the observed deviation between Japanese and U.S. MNEs.Multinational firm Vertical FDI Skill endowment Instrumental variable

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