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Measuring Multinational Enterprise Activity with the Knowledge-Capital Model

The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) allows a country to invest and control business in another country. FDI has two types of data flow which are horizontal and vertical (B. Blonigen et al., 2007). The horizontal motivation is the need to place the product nearer to the customer to avoid any trade costs. In contrast, the vertical motivation is the need to have unskilled labor for producing large amounts of products at a lower cost. These motivations are shown as data flows in FDI, however, FDI has other data flows as well, and understanding this data can be difficult so the Knowledge-Capital Model is used as a powerful disentanglement tool to combine these two flows and make them understandable (Kristjánsdóttir, 2010). This paper will use the estimation of this model to measure Multinational Enterprise activity.

The Theory

Many multinational companies take advantage of the FDI to lower the cost of their products and invest in skilled and unskilled abundant areas for this purpose. This represents their vertical motivation and their horizontal motivation is placing the product near the target consumer to lower or avoid the trade costs (Doraszelski & Jaumandreu, 2006).

The Method

The Knowledge-Capital Model will be used to measure the time-varying approach along with the application of the estimation method.

The Cases

The data available on OECDs was available from the years 1980 to 2004, however; huge amounts of data on OECDs was missing from the years of 1980, 1981, and 2004 and due to incomplete data these years were excluded and data on OECDs was collected from the years 1982 to 2003 (OECD, 2020).

Dependent Variable

The dependent variables were OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), so for this, the bilateral stocks of FDI were collected from different OECD Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for thirty OECD countries. This data is collected from 1982 to 2003 which gives us time (T) to be 22 years. This data gave 870 countries which when divided by 30 OECD countries gave 29 pairs of countries (Mariel et al., 2009).

FDI = (OECD Sample) x (Time)

The Independent (and Control Variables):

The independent variable data was the GDP and it was measured using millions of U.S. dollars with prices (PPPs) at a constant and skill difference which was obtained from the works of Lee and Barro (2000).

The Research Logic

The OECDs are the countries that provide labor to multinational companies and they represent the vertical data flow so by calculating OECDs skill difference and GDP, the FDIs of can be calculated which would, in turn, present data on Multinational Enterprise activity. This method can be applied to any Multinational company to estimate their overall FDIs and revenues that they generate (B. A. Blonigen et al., 2003).

The Project Value

The project draws upon the works of Carr et al. who used this model to show the way Multinational Enterprise activity can be calculated by estimating their Knowledge-Capital model (Carr et al., 2001). Currently, this research paper has used the broader OECDs data to present some rough estimates, however; future research can be more streamlined by including one or more multinational companies to present more concrete evidence of cost reduction that is done through FDIs (Anghel, 2007).

The Works Cited

Anghel, B. (2007). A Knowledge-Capital Model Approach of FDI in Transition Countries.

Barro, R., & Lee, J.-W. (2000). International Data on Educational Attainment Updates and Implications (NBER Working Paper No. 7911). National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Blonigen, B. A., Davies, R. B., & Head, K. (2003). Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise: Comment. THE MULTINATIONAL ENTERPRISE, 93(3), 15.

Blonigen, B., Davies, R., Waddell, G., & Naughton, H. (2007). FDI in space: Spatial autoregressive relationships in foreign direct investment. European Economic Review, 51(5), 1303–1325.

Carr, D., Markusen, J., & Maskus, K. (2001). Estimating The Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise. American Economic Review, 91, 693–708.

Doraszelski, U., & Jaumandreu, J. (2006). R&D and productivity: The knowledge capital model revisited. 46.

Kristjánsdóttir, H. (2010). Foreign Direct Investment: The Knowledge-capital Model and a Small Country Case. Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 57, 591–614.

Mariel, P., Orbe, S., & Rodriguez, C. (2009). The knowledge-capital model of FDI: A time varying coefficients approach. Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 56, 196–212.

OECD. (2020). OECD data. TheOECD.



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