Acquisition versus greenfield investment: The location and growth of Japanese manufacturers in the United States

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46 Scopus citations


Investigating foreign direct investment by principal modes of entry helps explain the location of Japanese manufacturers in the United States. Japanese greenfield start-ups and acquired plants had distinct interregional distributions in different decades. We use ordinary least squares and tobit regression analyses to account for interstate variation in the levels of Japanese acquired and greenfield establishment in 1979, 1989 and 1992 and their expansion in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. The greenfield plants propelled the formation of automobile-based industrial complexes in the Midwest and Southeast regions. Greenfield investors also avoided states with strong unions and, over time, they became unconstrained by the general distribution of American manufacturing. Although supplies of procurable assets consistently constrained acquisition flows, the Pacific Coast region was a focus of Japanese acquisition activity from the 1970s to the 1990s. During the 1980s, acquirers contributed to the development of the Japanese automobile complexes in the Midwest and Southeast. They also avoided strong unions. Those latter factors, however, were not significant locational determinants of acquisition flows in the 1990s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-416
Number of pages14
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1997


  • Acquisition
  • Direct investment
  • Greenfield
  • Growth
  • Japanese
  • Location
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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