Foreign Direct Investment versus other Flows to Latin America

OECD Development Centre

The central question tackled here is that of the desirability of foreign direct investment over other flows, such as bank lending. There has been an undoubted rise in FDI flows as a proportion of all flows to the Latin American region, but how much of the cause is supply- or demand-driven remains unclear. Analyses presented in this volume appear to demonstrate that FDI is no better and no worse than other flows for growth and for crisis resistance and, in some cases, may even be a signal of an economy’s ill health. Contrary views, however, are also presented. Where governments compete for FDI, it is widely believed that they participate in a so-called "race to the bottom", lowering labour, environmental and other standards. The surprise here is that this fear is so far largely unfounded. The book also includes a glimpse of a round table discussion on these issues with private-sector participants. The Inter-American Development Bank and the OECD Development Centre created the International Forum on Latin American Perspectives as an annual meeting place of ideas and strategies from Latin America and from the OECD region. The eleventh edition of the Forum was held in Paris in November 2000 and this book contains contributions and analysis from that meeting.

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