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Vertical foreign direct investment: Make, buy, and sell

Chrysovalantou Milliou () and Joel Sandonis

Review of International Economics, 2020, vol. 28, issue 3, 884-912

Abstract: According to conventional wisdom, multinational enterprises (MNEs) undertake vertical FDI to take advantage of cross‐border factor cost differences and source inputs from abroad at better terms. However, recent empirical studies document many instances in which intrafirm trade between parent firms and their vertically related foreign affiliates is absent. We provide theoretical support for these findings, demonstrating that a firm can engage in vertical FDI to exploit its intangible assets in another country and improve its input sourcing terms domestically by enhancing its cross‐threat. Furthermore, we show that the welfare implications of vertical FDI on the home and host country are neither always positive nor aligned.

Date: 2020
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