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Foreign Direct Investment: Good Cholesterol?

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  • Ricardo Hausmann
  • Eduardo Fernández-Arias

Abstract

This paper studies the proposition that capital inflows tend to take the form of FDI -i.e., the share of FDI in total liabilities tends to be higher- in countries that are safer, more promising and with better institutions and policies. It finds that this view is patently wrong since it stands the historical record on its head. It then uses alternative theories to make sense of the facts. It begins by studying the determinants of the size and composition of the flows of private capital across countries. It finds that while capital flows tend to go to countries that are safer and have better institutions and financial markets, the share of FDI in total flows is not an indication of good health. On the contrary, countries that are riskier, less financially developed and have weaker institutions tend to attract less capital but more of it in the form of FDI. Hence, interpreting the rising share of FDI as a sign of good health is unwarranted. This is even more so, given that FDI's recent rise has taken place while total private capital inflows have fallen.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications with number 6466.

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Date of creation: Mar 2000
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Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:6466

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Keywords: Intellectual property; Financial Risk; Financial management; Capital flows; Investment; corporate finance; financial market; FDI; foreign direct investment; WP-417;

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References

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  1. Sarno, Lucio & Taylor, Mark P., 1999. "Hot money, accounting labels and the permanence of capital flows to developing countries: an empirical investigation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 337-364, August.
  2. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: an empirical treatment," International Finance Discussion Papers, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) 534, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela & Lizondo, Saul, 1998. "Leading Indicators of Currency Crises," MPRA Paper, University Library of Munich, Germany 6981, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Classens, S. & Dooley, M.P. & Warner, A., 1995. "Portfolio Capital Flows: Hot or Cold," Papers, Harvard - Institute for International Development 501, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  5. Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza & Ernesto H. Stein, 2000. "Why Do Countries Float the Way They Float?," Research Department Publications, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department 4205, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  6. Chuhan, Punam & Claessens, Stijn & Mamingi, Nlandu, 1998. "Equity and bond flows to Latin America and Asia: the role of global and country factors," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 439-463, April.
  7. Aitken, B. & Hanson, G.H. & Harrison, A.E., 1994. "Spillovers, Foreign Investment and Export Behavior," Papers, Columbia - Graduate School of Business 95-06, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  8. Borensztein, E. & De Gregorio, J. & Lee, J-W., 1998. "How does foreign direct investment affect economic growth?1," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 115-135, June.
  9. Chuhan, Punam & Perez-Quiros, Gabriel & Popper, Helen, 1996. "International capital flows : do short-term investment and direct investment differ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 1669, The World Bank.
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