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.
Mr. Rodrigo O. Valdes, Mr. Leonardo Hernández, and Ms. Pamela Melado
This paper studies the determinants of private capital flows to developing countries during the last two episodes of large inflows, the late 1970s-early 1980s and the 1990s. The paper also tests for contagion effects in capital flows among recipient countries, and tries to identify specific channels through which such effects can occur. It tests for neighborhood effects, trade-related effects, and for contagion based on the countries having similar macroeconomic indicators. The results show strong evidence for the first two effects during the 1990s, and indicate that the third effect varies depending on the type of capital flow.
The performance of macroeconomic indicators of capital mobility is examined in the context of an intertemporal equilibrium model of a small open economy. Recursive numerical solution methods are used to compute measures of consumption smoothing, savings-investment correlation, and the variability and output-correlation of investment that characterize the model in the presence of income disturbances. None of these statistics is a reliable indicator of capital mobility unless information regarding differences in preferences, technology, and the nature of stochastic shocks can be taken into account.