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To What Extent Can Foreign Direct Investment Help Achieve International Development Goals?

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  • Peter Nunnenkamp

Abstract

For FDI to help alleviate absolute poverty and stimulate economic growth in developing countries, two conditions have to be met. First, developing countries need to be attractive to foreign investors. Second, the host-country environment in which foreign investors operate must be conducive to favourable FDI effects with regard to overall investment, economic spillovers and income growth. This paper argues that it is more difficult to benefit from FDI than to attract FDI. The widely perceived concentration of FDI in few developing countries tends to obscure that, in relative terms, various small and poor countries are fairly attractive to FDI. Yet, the mobilisation of domestic resources remains by far, more important than attracting FDI for financing investment and stimulating economic growth. Furthermore, high inward FDI is no guarantee for poverty alleviation and positive growth effects. In particular, the empirical evidence suggests that host-country conditions typically prevailing in poor countries, including weak institutions and an insufficient endowment of complementary factors of production, constrain the growth-enhancing and poverty-alleviating effects of FDI. The crux is that creating an environment in which FDI may deliver social returns will take considerable time exactly where development needs are most pressing. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.

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  • Peter Nunnenkamp, 2004. "To What Extent Can Foreign Direct Investment Help Achieve International Development Goals?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 657-677, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:27:y:2004:i:5:p:657-677
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Luiz de Mello, 1997. "Foreign direct investment in developing countries and growth: A selective survey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 1-34.
    2. Lensink, R. & Morrissey, O., 2001. "Foreign direct investment: flows, volatility and growth in developing countries," Research Report 01E16, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    3. Balasubramanyam, V N & Salisu, M & Sapsford, David, 1996. "Foreign Direct Investment and Growth in EP and IS Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 92-105, January.
    4. repec:dgr:rugsom:01e16 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2001. "Can the World Cut Poverty in Half? How Policy Reform and Effective Aid Can Meet International Development Goals," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1787-1802, November.
    6. Borensztein, E. & De Gregorio, J. & Lee, J-W., 1998. "How does foreign direct investment affect economic growth?1," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 115-135.
    7. Manuel Agosin & Roberto Machado, 2005. "Foreign Investment in Developing Countries: Does it Crowd in Domestic Investment?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 149-162.
    8. Hiemenz, Ulrich & Agarwal, Jamuna Prasad & Langhammer, Rolf J. & Nunnenkamp, Peter & Spinanger, Dean, 1991. "The international competitiveness of developing countries for risk capital," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 747, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    9. Ewe-Ghee Lim, 2001. "Determinants of, and the Relation Between, Foreign Direct Investment and Growth; A Summary of the Recent Literature," IMF Working Papers 01/175, International Monetary Fund.
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    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General

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