Jannick Damgaard, Thomas Elkjaer, and Niels Johannesen
Macro statistics on foreign direct investment (FDI) are blurred by offshore centers with
enormous inward and outward investment positions. This paper uses several new data
sources, both macro and micro, to estimate the global FDI network while disentangling real
investment and phantom investment and allocating real investment to ultimate investor
economies. We find that phantom investment into corporate shells with no substance and no
real links to the local economy may account for almost 40 percent of global FDI. Ignoring
phantom investment and allocating real investment to ultimate investors increases the
explanatory power of standard gravity variables by around 25 percent.
This paper investigates the costs and benefits of concluding double tax treaties with investment hubs. Based on a sample of 41 African economies from 1985–2015, the results suggest that signing treaties with investment hubs is not associated with additional investments; yet, these treaties tend to come with nonnegligible revenue losses. Building on a theoretical model, the paper investigates the role of treaty shopping in driving nominal investment flows and provides indirect evidence for its importance in the sample
This paper reviews the experiences of a few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that have succeeded in attracting fairly large amounts of foreign investment. The review indicates that sustained efforts to promote political and macroeconomic stability and implement essential structural reforms have been the key elements contributing to the success that certain countries in Africa have achieved in attracting a substantial volume of FDI. Strong leadership, which has helped promote democracy and overcome social and political strife, and a firm commitment to economic reform have been important determinants. The adoption of sound fiscal and monetary policies, supported by an appropriate exchange rate policy, and a proactive approach to removing structural impediments to private sector activity have had a positive bearing on investor sentiment. The analysis underscores the importance of relying on stability and a broad-based reform effort to encourage foreign investment in Africa.
This paper summarizes recent arguments/findings on two aspects of foreign direct investment (FDI): its correlation with economic growth and its determinants. The first part focuses on recent literature regarding positive spillovers from FDI while the second deals with the determinants of FDI. The paper finds that while substantial support exists for positive spillovers from FDI, there is no consensus on causality. On determinants, the paper finds that market size, infrastructure quality, political/economic stability, and free trade zones are important for FDI, while results are mixed regarding the importance of fiscal incentives, the business/investment climate, labor costs, and openness.