IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Foreign Direct Investment and Spillovers: Gradualism May Be Better

  • Desmet, Klaus
  • Rojas, Juan A

The standard argument says that in the presence of positive spillovers foreign direct investment should be promoted and subsidized. In contrast, this Paper claims that the very existence of such spillovers may require temporarily restricting and taxing inward FDI. Our argument in favour of gradual liberalization is based on two stylized features of spillovers: first, technology transfers – and subsequent spillovers – are limited by the economy’s absorptive capacity; and second, spillovers take time to materialize. By letting in capital more gradually, initial investment has the time to create spillovers – and upgrade the economy’s absorptive capacity – before further investment occurs. This allows subsequent capital inflows to benefit from greater technology transfers. As a result, the economy converges to a steady state with a superior technology and a greater capital stock.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4660.

in new window

Date of creation: Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4660
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Borensztein, E. & De Gregorio, J. & Lee, J-W., 1998. "How does foreign direct investment affect economic growth?1," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 115-135, June.
  2. Alwyn Young, 1991. "Learning by Doing and the Dynamic Effects of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gorg, Holger & Strobl, Eric, 2001. "Multinational Companies and Productivity Spillovers: A Meta-analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(475), pages F723-39, November.
  4. Keller, Wolfgang, 2002. "International Technology Diffusion," CEPR Discussion Papers 3133, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Olivier Jeanne, 2006. "The Elusive Gains from International Financial Integration," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 715-741.
  6. Glass, Amy Jocelyn & Saggi, Kamal, 1999. "FDI policies under shared factor markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 309-332, December.
  7. Blomström, Magnus & Kokko, Ari, 1996. "Multinational Corporations and Spillovers," CEPR Discussion Papers 1365, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Keller, Wolfgang & Yeaple, Stephen R., 2005. "Multinational enterprises international trade, and productivity growth: Firm-level evidence from the United States," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,07, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  9. Young, Alwyn, 1991. "Learning by Doing and the Dynamic Effects of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 369-405, May.
  10. Haaland, J.I. & Wooton, I., 1998. "International Competition for Multinational Investment," Papers 14/98, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  11. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Qian, Yingyi, 1999. "The dynamics of reform and development in China: A political economy perspective," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 1105-1114, April.
  12. Keller, Wolfgang, 1996. "Absorptive capacity: On the creation and acquisition of technology in development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 199-227, April.
  13. Ann E. Harrison & Brian J. Aitken, 1999. "Do Domestic Firms Benefit from Direct Foreign Investment? Evidence from Venezuela," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 605-618, June.
  14. Joshua Aizenman & Sang-Seung Yi, 1997. "Controlled Openness and Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 6123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Nelson, Richard R & Pack, Howard, 1999. "The Asian Miracle and Modern Growth Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 416-36, July.
  16. Alwyn Young, 1992. "A Tale of Two Cities: Factor Accumulation and Technical Change in Hong Kong and Singapore," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 13-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Glass, Amy Jocelyn & Saggi, Kamal, 1998. "International technology transfer and the technology gap," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 369-398, April.
  18. Gordon H. HANSON, 2001. "Should Countries Promote Foreign Direct Investment?," G-24 Discussion Papers 9, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4660. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.