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Foreign Direcyt Investment and the Risk of Expropriation

When an investor, for example a transnational corporation, invests abroad it runs the risk that its investment will be expropriated for the simple reason that international contracts are practically impossible to enforce. Any agreements or contracts then undertaken by the transnational company and the host country must be designed to be self-enforcing. It could be possible for the host country and the transnational corporation to find such self-enforcing agreements if there are future gains from trade. Thus although the host country might have a short-term incentive to expropriate, it has a long-term incentive to foster good relations with potential investors to attract more investment in the future. This conflict between short-term and long-term incentives determines the type of investment contracts agreed. This paper extends previous work on the general underprovision of investment when contracts are incomplete or only partially enforceable (see e.g. Grout (1984)) to a dynamic context. It is likewise shown that investment is initially underprovided but it increases over time and for certain parameter values it tends to the efficient level. The expected future discounted returns to the transnational company decline over time, extending Vernon's observation of the obsolescing bargain (Vernon (1971)). The model is also extended to allow for capital accumulation and consideration is given to renegotiation-proof contracts.

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Paper provided by Tilburg - Center for Economic Research in its series Papers with number 9126.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 1991
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:tilbur:9126
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  1. Jeremy I. Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 1988. "Sovereign Debt: Is To Forgive To Forget?," NBER Working Papers 2623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-75, September.
  3. Farrell, Joseph & Maskin, Eric, 1987. "Renegotiation in Repeated Games," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9wv3h5jb, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 235-59, April.
  5. Geir Asheim & Jon Strand, 1991. "Long-term union-firm contracts," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 161-184, June.
  6. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1982. "A Theory of Expropriation and Deviations From Perfect Capital Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bond, Eric W & Samuelson, Larry, 1986. "Tax Holidays as Signals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 820-26, September.
  8. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-60, March.
  9. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Long, Ngo Van, 1975. "Resource extraction under the uncertainty about possible nationalization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 42-53, February.
  11. Hart, Oliver D & Moore, John, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 755-85, July.
  12. Doyle, Christopher & van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1984. "Taxation of Foreign Multinationals: A Sequential Bargaining Approach to Tax Holidays," CEPR Discussion Papers 25, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1986. "Optimal cartel equilibria with imperfect monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 251-269, June.
  14. Crawford, Vincent P, 1988. "Long-term Relationships Governed by Short-term Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 485-99, June.
  15. Kobrin, Stephen J., 1980. "Foreign enterprise and forced divestment in LDCs," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(01), pages 65-88, December.
  16. Kobrin, Stephen J., 1987. "Testing the bargaining hypothesis in the manufacturing sector in developing countries," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(04), pages 609-638, September.
  17. Jonathan Thomas & Tim Worrall, 1988. "Self-Enforcing Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 541-554.
  18. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  19. Williams, M L, 1975. "The Extent and Significance of the Nationalization of Foreign-owned Assets in Developing Countries, 1956-1972," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 260-73, July.
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