Export Platform Foreign Direct Investment: Theory and Evidence

Discussion Papers


by ITO Tadashi

December 2012


This paper proposes a model that accounts for “export platform” FDI – a form of FDI that is common in the data but rarely discussed in the theoretical literature. Unlike the previous literature, this paper’s theory nests all the typical modes of supply, including exports, horizontal and vertical FDI, horizontal and vertical export platform FDI. The theory yields the testable hypothesis that a decrease in either inter-regional or intra-regional trade costs induces firms to choose export platform FDI. The empirical analysis provides descriptive statistics which point to large proportions of third country exports of US FDI, and an econometric analysis, whose results are in line with the model’s predictions. The last section suggests policy implications for nations seeking to attract FDI.

Keywords: Export platform FDI
JEL classification: F12, F15, F23

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