Horst Raff, Michael Ryan, and Frank Stähler

We use Japanese firm-level data to examine how a firm’s productivity affects its foreign-market entry strategy. The firm faces a choice between exporting and foreign direct investment (FDI). In the case of FDI, the firm has two options: greenfield investment or acquisition of an existing plant (M&A). If it selects greenfield investment, it has two ownership choices: whole ownership or a joint venture with a local company. 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 and greenfield investment rather than M&A.