Despite the growing importance of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Mexican economy, statistical evidence on the determinants of the regional distribution of foreign-owned firms is seriously limited. In this paper, empirical findings are presented from a variety of econometric models that identify several regional characteristics influencing the locational choice of FDI. The main findings are threefold. First, several locational factors appear to be potentially important; these include regional demand, wages, schooling, infrastructure, and agglomeration economies. Second, the effect of agglomeration economies stems from several sources. In particular, the regional presence of agglomerations of manufacturing activity and of foreign-owned manufacturing firms both have an independent positive effect on the locational decision of new FDI. Third, the locational process of maquiladora firms differs from the locational process of overall FDI. The actual findings suggest that regional demand and infrastructure, as suggested above, are not important locational factors for export-oriented firms. Furthermore, whereas agglomeration economies from manufacturing and the presence of existing FDI attract new maquiladora investment, the presence of a regional agglomeration of services deters the location of new maquiladora firms. Finally, agglomeration economies appear to be more important in the locational process of maquiladora firms. © Journal compilation © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.