The impact of deviation from relative purchasing power parity equilibrium on U.S. foreign direct investment
Analyzing inbound and outbound foreign direct investment (FDI) between the U.S. and seven developed countries over the period from 1994 to 2004, this study provides strong evidence for a positive relationship between aggregate FDI flows and a strengthening of a home currency. Further, taking exchange rate disequilibrium into account, we find that an increase in U.S. inbound FDI is related to a strengthening of an undervalued and overvalued U.S. dollar, while an increase in U.S. outbound FDI (foreign inbound FDI) is mainly related to a strengthening of an overvalued foreign currency. Disaggregate FDI flow data show that these findings hold mainly for the manufacturing (food and machinery) and the wholesale industry. We argue that our findings may provide evidence for a co-existence of the wealth-effect hypothesis and a more profit and production oriented hypothesis, once the U.S. dollar is undervalued. Additionally, the results support the argument that the profit and production oriented hypothesis dominates the wealth effect in developed countries, especially in the manufacturing and wholesale industry. Moreover, the results support the view that foreign investors are interested in how overvalued or undervalued a currency is, rather than being interested only in the recent direction of change in the exchange rate. Finally, all findings are robust with respect to several estimation procedures.
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