Comparative advantage FDI? A host country perspective

Waldkirch, Andreas
September 2011
Review of World Economics;Sep2011, Vol. 147 Issue 3, p485
Academic Journal
Recent empirical studies of the determinants of multinational activity across countries have found overwhelming support for a horizontal rather than a vertical model of foreign direct investment (FDI). They all use US or other developed country data. This paper, in contrast, uses a detailed industry-level data set on FDI in a relatively skilled-labor and capital scarce country, Mexico, to shed light on the determinants of FDI between largely dissimilar countries. The results indicate considerably more support for a comparative advantage motive for FDI, although a market access motive is present as well. The correlation between skill differences and FDI is positive in all industries, but when differences are large, FDI flows into sectors that are intensive in total labor, regardless of skill level. The concentration of multinational activity in (unskilled) labor intensive industries suggests a potential for spillover effects.


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