NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Comovement of Returns and Investment Within the Multinational Firm

Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley

NBER Working Paper No. 10785
Issued in September 2004
NBER Program(s):   CF   PE

Can financial integration, particularly the cross-border investments of multinational firms, help explain the synchronization of business cycles? This paper presents evidence on the comovement of returns and investment within U.S. multinational firms to address this question. These firms constitute significant fractions of economic output and investment in most large economies, suggesting that they could create significant economic linkages. Aggregate measures of rates of return and investment rates of U.S. multinational firms located in different countries are highly correlated across countries. Firm-level regressions demonstrate that rates of return and investment rates of affiliates are highly correlated with the rates of return and investment of the affiliate's parent and other affiliates within the same parent system, controlling for country and industry factors. The evidence on these interrelationships and the importance of multinationals to local economies suggests that global firms may be an important channel for transmitting economic shocks. This evidence also sheds light on asset pricing puzzles related to the diversification benefits provided by multinational firms.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10785

Published: The Comovement of Returns and Investment within the Multinational Firm, Mihir A. Desai, C. Fritz Foley. in NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004, Clarida, Frankel, Giavazzi, and West. 2006

 
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