Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Fuat Sener




international trade, markets, economics, recession, property rights


The level of US intra-firm imports from Emerging Markets, EM, (i.e., imports of MNEs from their foreign affiliates) has increased from 149 billion USD in 2002 to 347 billion USD in 2012. A similar magnitude is observed for US arm’s length imports (i.e., imports of MNEs from third parties in foreign countries). This thesis estimates the responsiveness of US intra-firm and arm’s length imports to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection indicators, “Doing Business” indicators, and to the Global Recession. I use two panel data sets, one covering 332 industries (3-digit NAICS) and 43 emerging countries from 2002 to 2012, the other covering 10 industries (2-digit NAICS) and 190 countries over the same time period. My regressions control for fixed country, industry, and time effects. I find that the levels of both intra-firm trade and arm’s length trade increase substantially in response to stronger IPRs. I also find that the share of intra-firm imports in total imports increases due to stronger IPRs, a result which suggests that firms increase their intra-firm activities by more than their arm’s length activities. During the Great Recession, the share of intra-firm imports to Emerging Markets increases by 1.1 %. This implies that the decline in intra-firm imports is smaller than the decline in either arm’s length trade or total intra-firm trade, a result which shows the relative resilience of intra-firm trade to fluctuations in global output. Finally, “Doing Business” indicators, including “Enforcing Contracts”, do not have significant effects on the share of intra-firm imports.