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CEP discussion paper

The Spatial Organization of Multinational Firms


Using six years of firm-level data covering 224 regions of the enlarged European Union, we evaluate the importance to a firm of locating its activities (production, headquarters, R&D, logistics and sales) close together. We find that, after controlling for regional characteristics, being closely located to a previous investment positively affects firm location choice. However, the impact of distance is dependent on the type of investment (production or service). While within-firm co-location is important for both service and production activities, only production plants are likely to be located close to prior production investments. In this latter case, national borders have a surprisingly positive effect, increasing the probability of choosing a nearby location, but on the other side of the border.


Fabrice Defever

December 2010     Paper Number CEPDP1029

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Trade programme.