Italian Economic Journal

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 369–402 | Cite as

Does the Same FDI Fit All? How Competition and Affiliates Characteristics Affect Parents’ Productivity

  • Giorgia Giovannetti
  • Enrico Marvasi
  • Giorgio RicchiutiEmail author
Research Paper - Italy and Europe


This paper investigates the heterogeneity within the group of foreign direct investors by analyzing the relation between parents’ productivity, the degree of domestic competition and the characteristics of their affiliates. Our results show that there is no unique recipe. Foreign direct investors may benefit differently depending on the economic environment in which they operate. Building an original 10-year panel dataset of Italian investors, we find that larger manufacturing parents tend to have more, larger and more productive affiliates in a higher number of destinations as well as being more productive in terms of total factor productivity. Having affiliates in high income countries or in both high and low income countries is associated with a productivity premium vis-à-vis investors in low income countries. Parent sector characteristics such as technology and degree of competition are also associated with productivity in a non-monotonic way. Low income country investors are found to be relatively more productive when operating in more competitive low technology sectors, while the opposite holds true for high income country investors, which become more productive when operating in less competitive high technology sectors.


Foreign direct investment Heterogeneous firms Total factor productivity Multinationals Affiliates 

JEL Classification

F12 F14 F21 


Supplementary material

40797_2019_103_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (140 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 139 KB)


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Copyright information

© Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze per l’Economia e l’ImpresaUniversitá di FirenzeFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Fondazione Manlio MasiRomeItaly
  3. 3.European University InstituteFiesoleItaly
  4. 4.Dipartimento di Ingegneria GestionalePolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  5. 5.Complexity Lab in Economics (CLE)Università Cattolica del Sacro CuoreMilanItaly

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