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Corruption and Foreign Direct Investment: Firm-Level Evidence

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  • Smarzynska Javorcik, Beata
  • Wei, Shang-Jin

Abstract

This Paper studies the impact of corruption in a host country on a foreign investor’s preference for a joint venture versus a wholly owned subsidiary. A simple model highlights a basic trade-off in using local partners. On the one hand, corruption makes local bureaucracy less transparent and increases the value of using a local partner to cut through the bureaucratic maze. On the other hand, corruption decreases the effective protection of investor’s intangible assets and lowers the probability that disputes between foreign and domestic partners will be adjudicated fairly, which reduces the value of having a local partner. The importance of protecting intangible assets increases with investor’s technological sophistication, which tilts the preference away from joint ventures in a corrupt country. Empirical tests of the hypothesis on a firm-level data set show that corruption reduces inward FDI and shifts the ownership structure towards joint ventures. Conditional on FDI taking place, an increase in corruption from the Hungarian level to that of Azerbaijan decreases the probability of a wholly-owned subsidiary by 10-20%. Technologically more advanced firms are found to be less likely to engage in joint ventures. On the other hand, US firms are found to be more averse to joint ventures in corrupt countries than investors of other nationalities. This may be due to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2967.

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Date of creation: Sep 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2967

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Keywords: composition of foreign direct investment; corruption; multinational firms;

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References

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  1. Kaufman, Daniel & Shang-Jin Wei, 1999. "Does"grease money"speed up the wheels of commerce?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2254, The World Bank.
  2. Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "Local Corruption and Global Capital Flows," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(2), pages 303-354.
  3. Wheeler, David & Mody, Ashoka, 1992. "International investment location decisions : The case of U.S. firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 57-76, August.
  4. Elizabeth Asiedu & Hadi Salehi Esfahani, 2001. "Ownership Structure In Foreign Direct Investment Projects," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 647-662, November.
  5. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
  6. Shang-Jin Wei, 1997. "How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 63, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  7. Shang-Jin Wei, 1997. "Why is Corruption So Much More Taxing Than Tax? Arbitrariness Kills," NBER Working Papers 6255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
  9. Henisz, Witold J, 2000. "The Institutional Environment for Multinational Investment," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 334-64, October.
  10. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  11. Ades, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael, 1997. "National Champions and Corruption: Some Unpleasant Interventionist Arithmetic," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1023-42, July.
  12. Kenneth A. Froot, 1993. "Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number froo93-1.
  13. Magnus Blomstrom & Mario Zejan, 1989. "Why Do Multinational Firms Seek Out Joint Ventures?," NBER Working Papers 2987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Bruce Kogut & Harbir Singh, 1988. "The Effect of National Culture on the Choice of Entry Mode," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 19(3), pages 411-432, September.
  15. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
  16. Hans-Peter Lankes & A. J. Venables, 1996. "Foreign direct investment in economic transition: the changing pattern of investments," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 4(2), pages 331-347, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Yulia Gorbunova & Davide Infante & Janna Smirnova, 2012. "New Evidence on FDI Determinants: An Appraisal Over the Transition Period," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2012(2), pages 129-149.
  2. Thierry Verdier, 2010. "Regional Integration, Fragility and Institution Building: An Analytical Framework Applied to the African Context," RSCAS Working Papers 2010/38, European University Institute.
  3. Deininger, Klaus & Mpuga, Paul, 2004. "Does greater accountability improve the quality of delivery of public services? Evidence from Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3277, The World Bank.
  4. Jean-Francois Arvis & Ronald E. Berenbeim, 2003. "Fighting Corruption in East Asia : Solutions from the Private Sector," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14749, July.
  5. Deininger, Klaus & Mpuga, Paul, 2005. "Does Greater Accountability Improve the Quality of Public Service Delivery? Evidence from Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 171-191, January.

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