Democracy in the neighborhood and foreign direct investment

MEHMET PINAR, Thanasis Stengos

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Abstract

The determinants of foreign direct investment (FDI) have been extensively studied. Even though there is extensive research in the area, most of it is based on analyzing the effects of host country characteristics on FDI flows, and yet there is little research on how neighboring country characteristics play a role in facilitating FDI flows to host countries. This paper analyzes the association between the democracy level in neighboring countries and FDI flows to host countries. Using bilateral FDI flows from the OECD countries, with a large host country sample, we find that countries surrounded by democratic countries attract higher FDI flows. Furthermore, we find evidence that countries that are surrounded by neighboring countries with good institutions tend themselves to have better institutions, experience lower civil conflict, and have higher political stability and hence indirectly attract higher FDI flows. Our findings suggest that if neighboring countries act in such way as to become more democratic, FDI flows to these countries would be higher since not only does improving the quality of democracy attract more FDI inflows, but also being surrounded by neighboring advanced democratic countries will also lead to higher FDI flows to them.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of Development Economics
Early online date17 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • democracy
  • democracy in the neighborhood
  • foreign direct investment
  • institution
  • neighborhood charcteristics

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