We study the symmetric mixed strategy equilibrium of a dynamic model where at each instant two exporting firms choose their probability of foreign direct investment (FDI). The first firm's FDI generates cost-lowering spillovers for the second and leads to local imitation, thereby intensifying competition. While an increase in imitation risk usually makes FDI less likely, there exist parameter values for which the converse holds. The key point is that by delaying the second firm's switch to FDI, an increase in imitation risk can increase the value of being first to invest, thereby increasing the equilibrium probability of FDI.
Copyright © 1999 Canadian Economics Association
Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.