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Corruption and Composition of Foreign Direct Investment: Firm-Level Evidence

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  • Beate K. Smarzynska
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of corruption in a host country on foreign investor’s preference for a joint venture versus a wholly-owned subsidiary. There is a basic trade-off in using local partners. On the one hand, corruption makes local bureaucracy less transparent and increases the value of using a local partner to cut through the bureaucratic maze. On the other hand, corruption decreases the effective protection of investor’s intangible assets and lowers the probability that disputes between foreign and domestic partners will be adjudicated fairly, which reduces the value of having a local partner. The importance of protecting intangible assets increases with investor’s technological sophistication, which tilts the preference away from joint ventures in a corrupt country. Empirical tests of the hypothesis on a firm-level data set show that corruption reduces inward FDI and shifts the ownership structure towards joint ventures. Technologically more advanced firms are found to be less likely to engage in joint ventures.

Suggested Citation

  • Beate K. Smarzynska & Shang-Jin Wei, 2001. "Corruption and Composition of Foreign Direct Investment: Firm-Level Evidence," CID Working Papers 60A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cid:wpfacu:60a
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    corruption; composition of foreign direct investment; multinational firms;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business

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