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Ownership Increase in International Joint Ventures: The Within- and Across-Country Flexibility Perspective

Research paper by Sangcheol Song

Indexed on: 03 Oct '16Published on: 15 Sep '16Published in: Management International Review



Abstract

Abstract We employ the real options perspective to examine how multinational corporations (MNCs) increase ownership levels in their international joint ventures (IJVs) to exploit (or utilize) both within- and across-country flexibility. This paper utilize a rich dataset of South Korean firms’ foreign affiliates to test hypotheses derived from the real options theory. It examines the roles of growth options that require small equity stakes under uncertainty as well as switching options that require controlling equity stakes to coordinate switching implementation. Specifically, we examine how the ownership of jointly-owned foreign subsidiaries changes under the influence of changing labor cost uncertainty. We utilize a two-stage model to address the sample selection bias associated with a subsidiary’s choice of joint venture under the influence of high labor cost uncertainty. In the first stage, we run a probit model with a dummy variable for JVs and wholly-owned subsidiaries (WOSs) (1: JV, 0: WOS) as the dependent variable. In the second stage, we run a panel logistic regression model (STATA command, “xtlogit”). We found that MNCs engaged in greenfield IJVs increase their initial ownership when labor cost uncertainty within their host countries is favorably resolved. We also found that MNCs’ tendency to increase their IJV ownership intensifies when their subsidiary networks are exposed to negatively correlated labor cost growth rates across countries. Taking within and across country flexibility perspective, this study adds new insights on MNC ownership changes, especially in IJVs. Based upon our findings, we conclude that MNCs make flexible ownership adjustments for their foreign subsidiaries in response to different uncertainty conditions within and across countries.AbstractWe employ the real options perspective to examine how multinational corporations (MNCs) increase ownership levels in their international joint ventures (IJVs) to exploit (or utilize) both within- and across-country flexibility. This paper utilize a rich dataset of South Korean firms’ foreign affiliates to test hypotheses derived from the real options theory. It examines the roles of growth options that require small equity stakes under uncertainty as well as switching options that require controlling equity stakes to coordinate switching implementation. Specifically, we examine how the ownership of jointly-owned foreign subsidiaries changes under the influence of changing labor cost uncertainty. We utilize a two-stage model to address the sample selection bias associated with a subsidiary’s choice of joint venture under the influence of high labor cost uncertainty. In the first stage, we run a probit model with a dummy variable for JVs and wholly-owned subsidiaries (WOSs) (1: JV, 0: WOS) as the dependent variable. In the second stage, we run a panel logistic regression model (STATA command, “xtlogit”). We found that MNCs engaged in greenfield IJVs increase their initial ownership when labor cost uncertainty within their host countries is favorably resolved. We also found that MNCs’ tendency to increase their IJV ownership intensifies when their subsidiary networks are exposed to negatively correlated labor cost growth rates across countries. Taking within and across country flexibility perspective, this study adds new insights on MNC ownership changes, especially in IJVs. Based upon our findings, we conclude that MNCs make flexible ownership adjustments for their foreign subsidiaries in response to different uncertainty conditions within and across countries.