Policy Competition for Foreign Direct Investment

A study of Competition among Governments to Attract FDI

OECD Development Centre

Competition for foreign direct investment has been neglected as a subject of research. Yet many claim that such competition is having deleterious effects, such as lowering governments’ standards of protection of the environment and workers’ rights.

This book looks at the evidence and assesses the impact of competition among governments to attract FDI. It finds little evidence directly to support fears of a "global race to the bottom" in labour and environmental standards. The widespread use of investment incentives, however, in OECD and developing countries alike, tends to be bad for government transparency and accountability. This is highly detrimental both to economic policy making and to the construction of democratic institutions in developing countries.

The author proposes a shift away from incentive-based policies for attracting FDI towards a rules-based approach on both a national and international level.

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