Foreign direct investment and regional convergence: an international approach
Since the middle 1980's, as consequence of the worldwide process of liberalization, there has been an important rise in international capital flows, especially Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In particular, during the second half of 1990’s, worldwide FDI inflows grew four times faster than domestic output, twice as fast as domestic investment and three times as fast as exports. However, the geographical distribution of these flows of international capital was highly uneven. The main receivers of these FDI inflows were the most-developed countries. The developing countries only received approximately 30% of the worldwide FDI inflows. At the same time, there has been a decrease in the speed of economic convergence among countries and regions. Between 1950 and 1990 the rate of convergence has been around 2% annually, but from the mid 1980’s, this rate decreased to the 0.2%-0.5% level on an annual basis. Immediately, a question arises: could the very high share of international capital directed to the most-developed countries, be one reason for the slowdown in the rate of economic convergence?. Most studies on the effects of the internationalization of production processes in economic growth have identified the liberalization process with international trade, excluding the effects of FDI and its consequences on regional convergence. However, the liberalization process has increased not only trade, but also international capital flows. In this paper we address this last point. The main objective is to analyze the possible relationship among FDI and economic convergence. In particular, we present arguments which support the hypothesis that FDI inflows could be one of the elements helping to slowdown the speed of convergence in recent years. We show, on one hand, that FDI is an "engine of growth", the same as international trade. The main reason is that FDI is not merely a transfer of capital. FDI contributes to strengthening the economic structure on the host country, modernizes and internationalises it as well. FDI is usually accompanied by specific intangible assets of the transnational corporation, changes in production systems and/or technological innovations, among others. There is not doubt that all these factors generate positive growth effects in the target destination. On the other hand, we show that the main receivers of this FDI are not the developing countries. The developed countries, with more than two-thirds of the worldwide FDI inflows dominate the global picture. So, if these facts are analysed together, it is possible to show that the positive effects of FDI on economic growth are concentrated mainly in the most developed countries. From this point, the negative effect of FDI on economic convergence is an obvious result.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.ersa.org
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Eduardo Borensztein & Jose De Gregorio & Jong-Wha Lee, 1995.
"How Does Foreign Direct Investment Affect Economic Growth?,"
NBER Working Papers
5057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Blomström, Magnus & Kokko, Ari, 1996.
"Multinational Corporations and Spillovers,"
SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance
99, Stockholm School of Economics.
- V N Balasubramanyam & M Salisu & David Sapsford, . "Foreign Direct Investment and Growth: New Hypotheses and Evidence," Working Papers ec7/96, Department of Economics, University of Lancaster.
- Luiz de Mello, 1997. "Foreign direct investment in developing countries and growth: A selective survey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 1-34.
- Ron Martin, 2001.
"EMU versus the regions? Regional convergence and divergence in Euroland,"
Journal of Economic Geography,
Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 51-80, January.
- Ron Martin, 2000. "Emu Versus The Regions? Regional Convergence And Divergence In Euroland," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp179, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
- M. Ramirez, 2000. "Foreign Direct Investment in Mexico: A Cointegration Analysis," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(1), pages 138-162.
- Peter Egger & Michael Pfaffermayr, 2001.
"A note on labour productivity and foreign inward direct investment,"
Applied Economics Letters,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(4), pages 229-232.
- Peter Egger & Michael Pfaffermayr, . "A Note on Labor Productivity and Foreign Inward Direct Investment," WIFO Working Papers 109, WIFO.
- Root, Franklin R & Ahmed, Ahmed A, 1979. "Empirical Determinants of Manufacturing Direct Foreign Investment in Developing Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 751-67, July.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990.
"A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth,"
NBER Working Papers
3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Barrell, Ray & Pain, Nigel, 1997. "Foreign Direct Investment, Technological Change, and Economic Growth within Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1770-86, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p374. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.