Review of World Economics

, Volume 149, Issue 3, pp 423–442 | Cite as

Production versus distribution-oriented FDI

  • Jörn Kleinert
  • Farid Toubal
Original Paper


The business literature has long recognized the importance of multinationals’ distribution networks. The empirical analysis of distribution-oriented FDI has, however, received little attention which is at least partly due to the lack of appropriate data. We present a slightly modified version of Helpman et al. (Am Econ Rev 94(1):300–316, 2004) that explicitly models the possibility for a multinational firm to export through its wholesale trade affiliate. We analyze the multinational firms’ choice between foreign production and foreign distribution. Our empirical analysis uses different discrete choice models and alternative specifications for several sub-samples of multinational firms. Our results show that the choice between distribution and production-oriented FDI is based on the trade-off between fixed and variable costs.


Multinational firms Wholesale sales Discrete choice 

JEL classification

F23 F12 C25 


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Copyright information

© Kiel Institute 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsKarl-Franzens-University GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Economics and Management DepartmentEcole Normale Supérieure de Cachan, Paris School of Economics and CEPIIParisFrance

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