George Norman and Massimo Motta
Eastern European Economic Integration and Foreign Direct Investment
Economic transition in Eastern Europe should generate market growth. In addition, current discussions on economic integration and the development of a free-trade area in Eastern Europe will improve market accessibility. These two forces will significantly affect the strategies by which external firms will choose to supply markets in Eastern Europe. This paper examines the ways in which supply strategy is likely to change. We show that both market growth and improved market accessibility will lead the external firms to switch from exporting to foreign direct investment. However, market growth is likely to lead to dispersed investment in the growing economies, whereas increased market accessibility, by establishing an integrated regional bloc in Eastern Europe, is more likely to lead to concentrated investment plus infra-regional exports to the remainder of the regional bloc. The switch from exporting to local production through foreign direct investment will favor consumers through lowered prices but will harm national producers by depressing profit margins.