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Foreign Direct Investment and The Ease of Doing Business

  • Adrian Corcoran
  • Robert Gillanders

This paper examines the effect that a country’s business regulatory environment has on the amount of foreign direct investment it attracts. We use the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking to capture the costs that firms face when operating in a country. Several interesting results emerge. Firstly, the Doing Business rank is highly significant when included in a standard empirical FDI model estimated on data averaged over the period 2004-2009. Secondly, the significance of the overall Doing Business is driven by the Ease of Trading Across Borders component. We argue that this is a more intuitively appealing proxy for trade costs than the often used openness variable. The relationship does not seem to exist for the World’s poorest region, Sub-Saharan Africa, or for the OECD. Finally, we find no evidence that the ease of doing business of nearby countries has an effect on the FDI that a country gets in general. However, in terms of attracting FDI from the US, it helps to be near countries with good trade regulation and bad regulation in other respects.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201219.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201219
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  1. Djankov, Simeon & Freund, Caroline & Pham, Cong S., 2006. "Trading on time," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3909, The World Bank.
  2. Nicoletti, Giuseppe & Ardagna, Silvia & Alesina, Alberto & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 2005. "Regulation and Investment," Scholarly Articles 2579825, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Robert Gillanders & Karl Whelan, 2010. "Open For Business? Institutions, Business Environment and Economic Development," Working Papers 201040, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  4. Gastanaga, Victor M. & Nugent, Jeffrey B. & Pashamova, Bistra, 1998. "Host Country Reforms and FDI Inflows: How Much Difference do they Make?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(7), pages 1299-1314, July.
  5. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies & Glen R. Waddell & Helen T. Naughton, 2004. "FDI in Space: Spatial Autoregressive Relationships in Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 10939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Asiedu, Elizabeth, 2002. "On the Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment to Developing Countries: Is Africa Different?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 107-119, January.
  7. Theo S Eicher & Lindy Helfman & Alex Lenkoski, 2011. "Robust FDI Determinants: Bayesian Model Averaging In The Presence Of Selection Bias," Working Papers UWEC-2011-07-FC, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  8. Busse, Matthias & Hefeker, Carsten, 2007. "Political risk, institutions and foreign direct investment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 397-415, June.
  9. Lucas, Robert E. B., 1993. "On the determinants of direct foreign investment: Evidence from East and Southeast Asia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 391-406, March.
  10. Miriam Bruhn, 2011. "License to Sell: The Effect of Business Registration Reform on Entrepreneurial Activity in Mexico," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 382-386, February.
  11. Elizabeth Asiedu, 2006. "Foreign Direct Investment in Africa: The Role of Natural Resources, Market Size, Government Policy, Institutions and Political Instability," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(1), pages 63-77, 01.
  12. 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, January.
  13. Bruce A. Blonigen & Miao Wang, 2004. "Inappropriate Pooling of Wealthy and Poor Countries in Empirical FDI Studies," Working Papers and Research 0903, Marquette University, Center for Global and Economic Studies and Department of Economics.
  14. Levon Barseghyan, 2008. "Entry costs and cross-country differences in productivity and output," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 145-167, June.
  15. Klapper, Leora & Laeven, Luc & Rajan, Raghuram, 2006. "Entry regulation as a barrier to entrepreneurship," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 591-629, December.
  16. Djankov, Simeon & McLiesh, Caralee & Ramalho, Rita Maria, 2006. "Regulation and growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 395-401, September.
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