Foreign Direct Investment in the Banking Sector: a Transitional Economy Perspective
In this paper we use new statistics on FDI in transitional economies (TEs) to analyze the issue of foreign ownership in the banking sector, examining the implications for the host banking sector. After considering the potential benefits and risks associated with foreign investment in the banking sector, and on the basis of some empirical results, we reach the conclusion that FDI provides valuable opportunities for the development of the host banking sector. However, we find that substantial foreign ownership is necessary if there is to be a positive effect on bank profitability and cost efficiency. We also analyze the determinants of FDI location choices in TEs. Our evidence indicates that political and economic stability, existing trade linkages, features of the host banking sector, and the host country's attitude towards foreign institutions are relevant factors in catalyzing FDI in the banking sectors of TEs. We also provide evidence for FDI determinants, distinguishing among different levels of foreign partnership.
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