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Foreign Direct Investment in China: A Spatial Econometric Study


  • Cletus C. Coughlin
  • Eran Segev


Foreign direct investment (FDI) began to flow into China with advent of reforms in 1978. Following a period of relatively slow growth, FDI inflows to China picked up after 1990, as China surpassed every other nation but the United States in attracting foreign investment. In particular, coastal regions of China have received the bulk of FDI inflows to the country. In this paper, we use province-level data to explain the pattern of FDI location across China. We build upon previous research, introducing new potential determinants, using more recent FDI data, and incorporating spatial econometric techniques. In doing so, we test for potential econometric problems arising from the spatial pattern of the data, and correct for them by running more appropriate models. We find that economic size, labor productivity and coastal location attract FDI, while higher wages and illiteracy rates deter it. The transportation infrastructure variables we try are not found to have statistically significant relationships with the level of FDI inflows across provinces.
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  • Cletus C. Coughlin & Eran Segev, 2000. "Foreign Direct Investment in China: A Spatial Econometric Study," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 1-23, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:23:y:2000:i:1:p:1-23

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harry G. Broadman & Xiaolun Sun, 1997. "The Distribution of Foreign Direct Investment in China," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 339-361, May.
    2. Branstetter, Lee G. & Feenstra, Robert C., 2002. "Trade and foreign direct investment in China: a political economy approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 335-358, December.
    3. Smith Jr. , Donald F. & Florida Richard, 1994. "Agglomeration and Industrial Location: An Econometric Analysis of Japanese-Affiliated Manufacturing Establishments in Automotive-Related Industries," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 23-41, July.
    4. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 1996. "Inter-City Competition for Foreign Investment: Static and Dynamic Effects of China's Incentive Areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 38-60, July.
    5. John Henley & Colin Kirkpatrick & Georgina Wilde, 1999. "Foreign Direct Investment in China: Recent Trends and Current Policy Issues," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(2), pages 223-243, March.
    6. Broadman, Harry G. & Xiaolun Sun, 1997. "The distribution of foreign direct investment in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1720, The World Bank.
    7. Chien-Hsun Chen, 1996. "Regional determinants of foreign direct investment in mainland China," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 18-30, May.
    8. Chen Chunlai, 1996. "Recent Developments in Foreign Direct Investment in China," Chinese Economies Research Centre (CERC) Working Papers 1996-03, University of Adelaide, Chinese Economies Research Centre.
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