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Why and where do headquarters move?

Author: Strauss-Kahn, Vanessa ; Vives, XavierINSEAD Area: Economics and Political ScienceIn: Regional Science and Urban Economics, vol. 39, no. 2, March 2009 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 168-186.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask us for this itemAbstract: This paper analyzes decisions regarding the location of headquarters in the U.S. for the period 1996–2001. Using a unique firm-level database of about 30,000 U.S. headquarters, we study the firm- and locationspecific characteristics of headquarters that relocated over that period. Headquarters are concentrated, increasingly so in medium-sized service-oriented metropolitan areas, and the rate of relocation is significant (5% a year). Larger (in terms of sales) and younger headquarters tend to relocate more often, as well as larger (in terms of the number of headquarters) and foreign firms, and firms that are the outcome of a merger. Headquarters relocate to metropolitan areas with good airport facilities—with a dramatic impact, low corporate taxes, low average wages, high level of business services, same industry specialization, and agglomeration of headquarters in the same sector of activity—with all agglomeration variables having an important and significant impact
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This paper analyzes decisions regarding the location of headquarters in the U.S. for the period 1996–2001. Using a unique firm-level database of about 30,000 U.S. headquarters, we study the firm- and locationspecific characteristics of headquarters that relocated over that period. Headquarters are concentrated, increasingly so in medium-sized service-oriented metropolitan areas, and the rate of relocation is significant (5% a year). Larger (in terms of sales) and younger headquarters tend to relocate more often, as well as larger (in terms of the number of headquarters) and foreign firms, and firms that are the outcome of a merger. Headquarters relocate to metropolitan areas with good airport facilities—with a dramatic impact, low corporate taxes, low average wages, high level of business services, same industry specialization, and agglomeration of headquarters in the same sector of activity—with all agglomeration variables having an important and significant impact

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