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How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?

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  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

This paper studies the effect of corruption on foreign direct investment. The sample covers bilateral investment from fourteen source countries to forty-five host countries during 1990-91. There are three central findings. (1) A rise in either the tax rate on multinational firms or the corruption level in a host country reduces inward foreign direct investment (FDI). An increase in the corruption level from that of Singapore to that of Mexico is equivalent to raising the tax rate by over twenty percentage points. (2) There is no support for the hypothesis that corruption has a smaller effect on FDI into East Asian host countries. (3) American investors are averse to corruption in host countries, but not necessarily more so than average OECD investors, in spite of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977. On the other hand, there is some weak support for the hypothesis that Japanese investors may be somewhat less sensitive to corruption. Neither American nor Japanese investors treat corruption in East Asia any differently from that in other parts of the world. There are other interesting and sensible findings. For example, consistent with theories that emphasize the importance of networks in trade and investment, sharing a common linguistic tie between the source and host countries and geographic proximity between the two are associated with a sizable increase in the bilateral FDI flow.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6030.

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Date of creation: May 1997
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Publication status: published as Wei, Shang-Jin. "How Taxing Is Corruption On International Investors?," Review of Economics and Statistics, 2000, v82(1,Feb), 1-11.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6030

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  1. Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Foreign Direct Investment in China: Sources and Consequences," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Deregulation and Integration in East Asia, NBER-EASE Volume 5, pages 77-105 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
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  4. Hsiao,Cheng, 2003. "Analysis of Panel Data," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521818551, April.
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  6. Shah, Anwar & Slemrod, Joel, 1990. "Tax sensitivity of foreign direct investment : an empirical assessment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 434, The World Bank.
  7. Jonathan Eaton & Akiko Tamura, 1995. "Japanese and U.S. Exports and Investment as Conduits of Growth," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 70, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  8. 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.
  9. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
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  13. Frankel, Jeffrey & Stein, Ernesto & Wei, Shang-jin, 1995. "Trading blocs and the Americas: The natural, the unnatural, and the super-natural," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-95, June.
  14. Assaf Razin & Joel Slemrod, 1990. "Taxation in the Global Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number razi90-1, October.
  15. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Trade and Search: Social Capital, Sogo Shosha, and Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 5618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Intra-National versus International Trade: How Stubborn are Nations in Global Integration?," NBER Working Papers 5531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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