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On the Role of Absorptive Capacity: FDI Matters to Growth

  • Yuko Kinoshita


  • Chia-Hui Lu


The paper studies the effects of foreign direct investment (FDI) on economic growth when sufficient provisions of infrastructure is a pre-requisite. In the overlapping generations setting, we show that technology spillovers via FDI take place only when the host country has the sufficient level of infrastructure. Infrastructure has a subsequent positive feedback on further investment which leads the country to grow faster. If infrastructure falls short of the critical level, however, then FDI has little effect on growth as the country is trapped in a lowgrowth equilibrium. We also present the simulations and empirical results based on panel data for 42 developing countries between 1970 and 2000. They support the model that FDI and infrastructure are complementary in affecting per capita GDP growth.

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Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number wp845.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2006-845
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  2. Borensztein, E. & De Gregorio, J. & Lee, J-W., 1998. "How does foreign direct investment affect economic growth?1," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 115-135, June.
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  7. Philippe Aghion & Diego Comin & Peter Howitt, 2006. "When Does Domestic Saving Matter for Economic Growth?," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_030, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  8. Blomstrom, Magnus & Persson, Hakan, 1983. "Foreign investment and spillover efficiency in an underdeveloped economy: Evidence from the Mexican manufacturing industry," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 493-501, June.
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  13. Blanchard, Olivier J & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2004. "Improving the SGP Through a Proper Accounting of Public Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Haddad, Mona & Harrison, Ann, 1993. "Are there positive spillovers from direct foreign investment? : Evidence from panel data for Morocco," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 51-74, October.
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  19. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Laura Alfaro & Selin Sayek & Areendam Chanda, 2002. "FDI and Economic Growth: The Role of Local Financial Markets," Macroeconomics 0212007, EconWPA.
  20. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
  21. Peri, Giovanni & Urban, Dieter, 2006. "Catching-up to foreign technology? Evidence on the "Veblen-Gerschenkron" effect of foreign investments," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 72-98, January.
  22. 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.
  23. Kokko, Ari & Tansini, Ruben & Zejan, Mario, 1994. "Productivity Spillovers from FDI in the Uruguayan Manufacturing Sector," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 2, Stockholm School of Economics.
  24. Ronald Findlay, 1978. "Relative Backwardness, Direct Foreign Investment, and the Transfer of Technology: A Simple Dynamic Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(1), pages 1-16.
  25. Durham, J.B.J. Benson, 2004. "Absorptive capacity and the effects of foreign direct investment and equity foreign portfolio investment on economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 285-306, April.
  26. Keller, Wolfgang, 1996. "Absorptive capacity: On the creation and acquisition of technology in development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 199-227, April.
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