FDI versus exports: Evidence from German banks

We use a new bank-level dataset to study the FDI-versus-exports decision for German banks. We extend the literature on multinational firms in two directions. First, we simultaneously study FDI and the export of cross-border financial services. Second, we test recent theories on multinational firms which show the importance of firm heterogeneity [Helpman, E., Melitz, M.J., Yeaple, S.R., 2004. Export versus FDI. American Economic Review 94 (1), 300–316]. Our results show that FDI and cross-border services are complements rather than substitutes. Heterogeneity of banks has a significant impact on the internationalization decision. More profitable and larger banks are more likely to expand internationally than smaller banks. They have more extensive foreign activities, and they are more likely to engage in FDI in addition to cross-border financial services.

15. March 2007

Authors Claudia M. Buch A. Lipponer

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