OECD Working Papers on International Investment

Selected studies on international investment and investment policy prepared for use within the OECD. They address such issues as investment agreements, dispute settlement, fair and equitable treatment, most favored nation treatment, and corruption.


The determinants of Foreign Direct Investment

Do statutory restrictions matter?

Over the past two decades, governments worldwide have continued to liberalise restrictions on international investment with only occasional relapses. Yet, FDI liberalisation remains an unfinished agenda in various parts of the world and across sectors. This paper sheds light on their potential costs in terms of foregone investments. Applying an augmented gravity model, covering 60 advanced and emerging countries over the period 1997–2016, it estimates the elasticity of bilateral FDI positions and cross-border M&A activity to FDI restrictions as measured by the OECD FDI Regulatory Restrictiveness Index. Results suggest that reforms liberalising FDI restrictions by about 10% as measured by the Index could increase bilateral FDI in stocks by 2.1% on average. Effects are greater for FDI in the services sector, but even manufacturing sectors – which are typically open to FDI – are negatively affected by countries’ overall restrictiveness. Foreign equity limitations and FDI screening policies are also scrutinised.


JEL: F15: International Economics / Trade / Economic Integration; K20: Law and Economics / Regulation and Business Law / Regulation and Business Law: General; F21: International Economics / International Factor Movements and International Business / International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
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