Why Do Firms Invest Abroad? An Analysis of the Motives Underlying Foreign Direct Investments
University of Bologna
Southampton Business School, University of Southampton
Giuseppe Vittucci Marzetti
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Sociology and Social Research; University of Trento - Department of Economics
December 15, 2008
Although FDI have been at the forefront of economic debate since a long time, economists have not yet developed a unified framework for their investigation. In this paper, we put forward the idea that an essential point to analyze FDI concerns their underpinning motives. Motives are at the core of FDI and FDI are only but one of different alternative means for firms to grasp an opportunity in a foreign country. We discuss the factors that shape the set of available alternatives and analyze those affecting the decision to engage in FDI (internalisation determinants), along with those influencing their localisation (localisation determinants). Starting from Dunning (1993) we put forward a revised taxonomy of FDI motives consistent with this framework - resource seeking, market seeking and non-marketable asset seeking. In order to show its practical implications, we survey common empirical issues on FDI showing how our analysis can shed light on seemingly contradictory empirical results.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: FDI determinants, FDI motives, Taxonomy, Foreign Direct Investments
JEL Classification: F210, F230, L230, L240
Date posted: October 13, 2008 ; Last revised: June 3, 2009
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