Domestic Economic Policies, Political Institutions, and Transnational Portfolio Investments
For many, transnational capital is one of the most important driving forces of economic globalization; yet, we know little about what determines cross-border portfolio investments. In addition to recent economic literature's focus on information asymmetries as one key determinant of cross-border investment, this study brings in a political aspect to the field of international trade in assets. The `race to the bottom' thesis connects domestic economic policies to investment decisions and argues that capital is more likely to move towards economies characterized by economic liberalism; political institutions are also relevant for portfolio investments, because democratic institutions often provide more credible protection against predatory practices. In this study, I model bilateral portfolio investments as a function of economic policies, political institutions, and levels of transparency of sending and receiving countries as well as important international connections. Empirical findings indicate the importance of transparency to attract portfolio investments. Moreover, transnational portfolio investments are only sensitive to some fiscal policy indictors and only within the OECD countries. Therefore, for non-OECD countries, there is still 'room to move' in maneuvering different aspects of fiscal policies. Finally, I find that investors care about the nature of political institutions as democratic institutions tend to be associated with higher levels of portfolio investment inflows. This is good news for developing countries that have undergone or are in the process of democratization. In addition to democratizing for peace, increased foreign capital further incentivizes a progression towards democratization.
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