NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Effects of Outbound Foreign Direct Investment on the Domestic Capital Stock

Martin Feldstein

NBER Working Paper No. 4668
Issued in March 1994
NBER Program(s):   ITI   PE

This paper analyzes the effect of outbound foreign direct investment (FDI) on the domestic capital stock. The first part of the paper shows that only about 20 percent of the value of assets owned by U.S. affiliates abroad is financed by cross-border flows of capital from the United States. An additional 18 per cent represents retained earnings attributable to U.S. investors. The rest is financed locally by foreign debt and equity. The second part of the paper analyzes data for the major industrial countries of the OECD and finds that each dollar of cross- border flow of foreign direct investment reduces domestic investment by approximately one dollar. This dollar for dollar displacement of domestic investment by outbound FDI is consistent with the Feldstein-Horioka picture of segmented capital markets. It suggests that while portfolio funds are largely segmented into national capital markets, direct investment can achieve cross-border capital flows. A dollar outflow of direct investment reduces domestic investment by a dollar and this is not offset by a change in international portfolio investment. This ability of foreign direct investment to circumvent the segmented national capital markets also appears in the expanded use of foreign debt and equity capital to finance the capital accumulation of foreign affiliates of U.S. firms. Taken together, these estimates suggest that each dollar of foreign assets acquired by U.S. foreign affiliates reduces the U.S. domestic capital stock by between 20 cents and 38 cents.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w4668

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