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Do foreign investors care about labor market regulations?

  • Smarzynska, Beata
  • Spartareanu, Mariana

The authors take a new look at the regulatory determinants of foreign direct investment (FDI) by asking whether labor market flexibility affects FDI flows across 25 Western and Eastern European countries. Their analysis is based on firm level data on new investments during the 1999-2001 period. The authors employ a variety of labor market flexibility measures that capture different aspects of labor laws along with a comprehensive set of controls for business climate characteristics. Indices of labor market regulations reflect the flexibility of individual and collective dismissals, the length of the notice period, and the required severance payment. The results suggest that greater flexibility in the host country's labor market relative to that in the investor's home country is associated with larger FDI inflows, and this effect is found to be stronger in the case of transition economies. The findings indicate that as the labor market flexibility in the host country increases from inflexible (for example, Slovakia) to flexible (for example, Hungary), the volume of investment increases by between 14 and 18 percent. FDI in service sectors appears to be more affected than investments in manufacturing.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3275.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3275
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  1. Javorcik Beata Smarzynska & Wei Shang-Jin, 2003. "Pollution Havens and Foreign Direct Investment: Dirty Secret or Popular Myth?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-34, December.
  2. Coughlin, Cletus C & Terza, Joseph V & Arromdee, Vachira, 1991. "State Characteristics and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment within the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 675-83, November.
  3. Michael Devereux & Rachel Griffith, 1996. "Taxes and the location of production: evidence from a panel of US multinationals," IFS Working Papers W96/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Juan Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael Porta & Florencio C. Lopez-De-Silanes, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382, November.
  5. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
  6. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
  7. repec:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:4:p:1339-1382 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Javorcik, Beata, 1999. "Composition of Foreign Direct Investment and Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Transition Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 2228, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Wheeler, David & Mody, Ashoka, 1992. "International investment location decisions : The case of U.S. firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 57-76, August.
  10. Haaland, Jan I. & Wooton, Ian, 2001. "Multinational Firms: Easy Come, Easy Go?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2660, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Hines, James R, Jr, 1996. "Altered States: Taxes and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment in America," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1076-94, December.
  12. Wolfgang Keller & Arik Levinson, 2002. "Pollution Abatement Costs and Foreign Direct Investment Inflows to U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 691-703, November.
  13. Theodore H. Moran, 1998. "Foreign Direct Investment and Development: The New Policy Agenda for Developing Countries and Economies in Transition," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 53.
  14. Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "Local Corruption and Global Capital Flows," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(2), pages 303-354.
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