Capital markets and the market structure of foreign investments

  • David E. Schmidt

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Contrary to the long-received theory of FDI, interest rates or rates of return can motivate foreign direct investment (FDI) in concert with the benefits of direct ownership. Thus, access to investor capital and capital markets is a vital component of the multinational’s competitive market structure. Moreover, multinationals can use their superior financial capacity as a competitive advantage in exploiting FDI opportunities in dynamic markets. They can also mitigate higher levels of foreign business risks under dynamic conditions by shifting more financial risk to creditors in the host economy. Furthermore, the investor’s expectation of foreign business risk necessarily commands a risk premium for exposing their equity to foreign market risk. Multinationals can modify the profit maximization strategy of their foreign subsidiaries to maximize growth or profits to generate this risk premium. In this context, we investigate how foreign subsidiaries manage their capital funding, business risk, and profit strategies with a diverse sample of 8,000 matched parents and foreign subsidiary accounts from multiple industries in 38 countries.We find that interest rates, asset prices, and expectations in capital markets have a significant effect on the capital movements of foreign subsidiaries. We also find that foreign subsidiaries mitigate their exposure to foreign business risk by modifying their capital structure and debt maturity. Further, we show how the operating strategy of foreign subsidiaries affects their preference for growth or profit maximization. We further show that superior shareholder value, which is a vital link for access to capital for funding foreign expansion in open market economies, is achieved through maintaining stability in the rate of growth and good asset utilization.
Date of Award2010
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJames H Love (Supervisor) & Nigel L Driffield (Supervisor)


  • Foreign direct investment
  • capital markets
  • profit theory
  • investment theory
  • international trade.

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