Relocation and Investment in R&D by Firms
The literature on foreign direct investment has analyzed firms’ location decisions when they invest in R&D to reduce production costs. Such firms may set up new plants in other developed countries while maintaining their domestic plants. In contrast, here we consider firms that close down their domestic operations and relocate to countries where wage costs are lower. Thus, we assume that firms may reduce their production costs by investing in R&D and also by moving their plants abroad. We show that these two mechanisms are complementary. When a firm relocates it invests more in R&D than when it does not change its location and, therefore, its production cost is lower in the first case. As a result, investment in R&D encourages firms to relocate. When firms do not invest in R&D on relocation, R&D discourages firms to relocate since the investment made by the firms that remain in the country partially offsets the labor cost advantage obtained by the firms that move their plants abroad.