We develop a theoretical framework to examine the relative importance of firm demand and productivity in firm decisions to export and where to locate foreign direct investments. The model shows that the equilibrium firm decision depends on product technology, consumer preference for product quality, fixed investment costs of establishing a foreign subsidiary, transportation costs and relative wages. Our empirical results confirm the predictions of the theoretical model. Firm-level demand and productivity components are important in explaining the decision to participate in foreign markets with their relative importance depending on the firm's organizational form (exports versus FDI) and the destination of the investments. In general, FDI firms are more productive than exporting firms regardless of FDI destinations. FDI firms also have a higher demand component than exporters and this demand component is stronger than productivity. Finally, among FDI firms, while those with a high demand index and productivity have a significantly higher propensity to invest in high-income countries, firm productivity is the sole determinant of firms undertaking FDI in low-income countries.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics