Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #259

Productivity and the Internationalization of Firms – Cross-border Acquisitions versus Greenfield Investments

by Michaela Trax

UDE, RGS Econ, RWI, 05/2011, 37 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-302-3



This paper extends the literature on the determinants of international activity at the firm level towards cross-border acquisitions and greenfield investments as different modes of FDI using a rich dataset of British firms. While multinational firms are characterized by higher productivity levels than exporters on average, the productivity ranking predicted by Helpman et al. (2004) does not hold within all types of industries and across all modes of foreign direct investment. In line with Nocke & Yeaple (2007) it matters whether multinational firms engage abroad via greenfield investments or cross-border acquisitions. Cross-border deals involve the most productive firms in sectors with a high share of intangible assets, but the least productive group of all internationally active firms in other industries.

JEL-Classification: F23, G34, L23, D24

Keywords: Foreign entry; cross-border M&A; greenfield investment; productivity