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Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment

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  • Bruce A. Blonigen
  • Jeremy Piger

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce A. Blonigen & Jeremy Piger, 2011. "Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 16704, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16704
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Henrik Braconier & Pehr-Johan Norbäck & Dieter Urban, 2005. "Reconciling the Evidence on the Knowledge-capital Model," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 770-786, September.
    4. 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.
    5. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies, 2004. "The Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties on U.S. FDI Activity," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 11(5), pages 601-622, September.
    6. di Giovanni, Julian, 2005. "What drives capital flows? The case of cross-border M&A activity and financial deepening," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 127-149, January.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    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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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business

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