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FDI and Growth: What Cross-Country Industry Data Say


  • Maria Cipollina

    () (University of Molise)

  • Giorgia Giovannetti

    () (University of Florence and European University Institute)

  • Filomena Pietrovito

    () (University of Molise)

  • Alberto Franco Pozzolo

    () (University of Molise, Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano and MoFiR)


The theoretical literature has discussed different channels through which foreign direct investments (FDI) promote host country’s economic growth, but empirical analyses have so far been inconclusive. In this paper we provide evidence that FDI have a positive and statistically significant growth effect in recipient countries, using a panel of 14 manufacturing sectors for (a sample of) developed and developing countries over the period 1992 - 2004. Moreover, we find that this effect is stronger in capital intensive and in technologically advanced sectors, highlighting the importance of sector characteristics. We find that the growth enhancing effect comes primarily from an increase in total factor productivity (TFP) and from capital accumulation. FDI not only contribute to physical capital accumulation, but also generate positive technological spillovers. Our results are robust to the inclusion of other determinants of economic growth. We also address the issue of potential endogeneity and results are confirmed. Policy implications of our findings are important, especially for developing countries, where the growth enhancing promotion of foreign investment in capital intensive and technologically advanced sectors is at the heart of the debate.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Cipollina & Giorgia Giovannetti & Filomena Pietrovito & Alberto Franco Pozzolo, 2011. "FDI and Growth: What Cross-Country Industry Data Say," Development Working Papers 313, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:313

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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Cipollina & Federica Demaria & Filomena Pietrovito, 2016. "Determinants of Trade: the Role of Innovation in Presence of Quality Standards," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 455-475, December.
    2. Kose,Ayhan & Ohnsorge,Franziska Lieselotte & Ye,Lei Sandy & Islamaj,Ergys, 2017. "Weakness in investment growth : causes, implications and policy responses," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7990, The World Bank.
    3. Roberto Antonietti & Raffaello Bronzini & Giulio Cainelli, 2015. "Inward greenfield FDI and innovation," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(1), pages 93-116, March.
    4. Filomena Pietrovito, 2014. "Does financial development help to align growth opportunities with growth? Evidence from industry-level data," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 150(2), pages 421-442, May.
    5. repec:rjr:romjef:v::y:2017:i:2:p:29-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Fiorini, Matteo & Hoekman, Bernard & Malgouyres, Clément, 2016. "Services Policy Reform and Manufacturing Employment: Evidence from Transition Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 11694, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Beverelli, Cosimo & Fiorini, Matteo & Hoekman, Bernard, 2017. "Services trade policy and manufacturing productivity: The role of institutions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 166-182.
    8. Wasseem Mina, 2014. "United Arab Emirates FDI Outlook," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(12), pages 1716-1730, December.
    9. Simone Borghesi & Giorgia Giovannetti & Gianluca Iannucci & Paolo Russu, 2016. "The dynamics of foreign direct investments in land and pollution accumulation," SEEDS Working Papers 1116, SEEDS, Sustainability Environmental Economics and Dynamics Studies, revised Nov 2016.
    10. Nicola Cortinovis & Jing Xiao & Ron Boschma & Frank van Oort, 2016. "Quality of government and social capital as drivers of regional diversification in Europe," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1610, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised May 2016.
    11. repec:eee:wdevel:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:243-261 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Shima'a Hanafy, 2015. "Sectoral FDI and Economic Growth — Evidence from Egyptian Governorates," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201537, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    13. Nicola Cortinovis & Frank van Oort, 2017. "Between spilling over and boiling down: network-mediated spillovers, absorptive capacity and productivity in European regions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-118/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    14. Nicola Cortinovis & Riccardo Crescenzi & Frank van Oort, 2018. "Multinational enterprises, industrial relatedness and employment in European regions," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1802, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jan 2018.

    More about this item


    Foreign direct investment; Economic growth; Capital intensity; Technological progress; Patents; Total factor productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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