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Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment

  • Bruce A. Blonigen
  • Jeremy Piger

Empirical studies of bilateral foreign direct investment (FDI) activity show substantial differences in specifications with little agreement on the set of covariates that are (or should be) included. We use Bayesian statistical techniques that allow one to select from a large set of candidates those variables most likely to be determinants of FDI activity. The variables with consistently high inclusion probabilities are traditional gravity variables, cultural distance factors, parent-country per capita GDP, relative labor endowments, and regional trade agreements. Variables with little support for inclusion are multilateral trade openness, host country business costs, host-country infrastructure (including credit markets), and host-country institutions. Of particular note, our results suggest that many covariates found significant by previous studies are not robust.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16704.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Modeling Processor Market Power and the Incidence of Agricultural Policy: A Nonparametric Approach , Rachael E. Goodhue, Carlo Russo. in The Intended and Unintended Effects of U.S. Agricultural and Biotechnology Policies , Graff Zivin and Perloff. 2012
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16704
Note: ITI
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  1. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H. & Egger, Peter, 2007. "A knowledge-and-physical-capital model of international trade flows, foreign direct investment, and multinational enterprises," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 278-308, November.
  2. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies & Keith Head, 2003. "Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 980-994, June.
  3. Baltagi, Badi H. & Egger, Peter & Pfaffermayr, Michael, 2007. "Estimating models of complex FDI: Are there third-country effects?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 260-281, September.
  4. di Giovanni, Julian, 2002. "What Drives Capital Flows? The Case of Cross-Border M&A Activity and Financial Deepening," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt7nq6d7wp, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies, 2000. "The Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties on U.S. FDI Activity," NBER Working Papers 7929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Blonigen, Bruce A. & Davies, Ronald B. & Waddell, Glen R. & Naughton, Helen T., 2007. "FDI in space: Spatial autoregressive relationships in foreign direct investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1303-1325, July.
  7. Braconier, Henrik & Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Urban, Dieter, 2003. "Reconciling the Evidence on the Knowledge Capital Model," Working Paper Series 590, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  8. David L. Carr & James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 2001. "Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 693-708, June.
  9. Bruce A. Blonigen & Miao Wang, 2004. "Inappropriate Pooling of Wealthy and Poor Countries in Empirical FDI Studies," NBER Working Papers 10378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Stein, Ernesto & Daude, Christian, 2007. "Longitude matters: Time zones and the location of foreign direct investment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 96-112, March.
  11. Theodore H. Moran & Edward M. Graham & Magnus Blomstrom, 2005. "Does Foreign Direct Investment Promote Development?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 3810.
  12. Chakrabarti, Avik, 2001. "The Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment: Sensitivity Analyses of Cross-Country Regressions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 89-113.
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