We use Japanese firm-level data to examine how a firm?s productivity affects its choice of foreign-market entry strategy. We study a sequence of decisions, starting with the choice between exporting and foreign direct investment (FDI). In the case of FDI, the firm faces two options: greenfield investment or merger and acquisition (M&A). If it selects greenfield investment, it has two ownership choices: whole ownership or a joint venture. Controlling for industry- and country-specific characteristics, we find that the more productive a firm is, the more likely it is to choose FDI rather than exporting, greenfield investment rather than M&A, and whole ownership rather than a joint venture. We also find that the assumed sequence of decisions fits the data better than alternative specifications.
Foreign direct investment merger and acquisition joint venture greenfield investment firm heterogeneity productivity