Foreign direct investment and corruption


In the last few decades, the world has witnessed an enormous growth in the volume of foreign direct investment (FDI). The global stock of FDI reached US$ 7.5 trillion in 2003 and accounted for 11% of world Gross Domestic Product, up from 7% in 1990. The sales of multinational enterprises at around US$ 19 trillion were more than double the level of world exports. Substantial FDI inflows went into transition countries. Inflows into one of the region's largest recipient, the Russian Federation, almost doubled, enabling Russia to become one of the five top FDI destinations in 2005-2006. FDI inflows in Russia have increased almost threefold from 13.6% in 2003 to 35% in 2007. In 2003, these flows were twice greater than those into China; whilst in 2007 they were six times larger. Russia's FDI inflows were also about 2.5 times greater than those of Brazil. Efficient government institutions are argued by many economists to foster FDI and growth as a result. However, the magnitude of this effect has yet to be measured. This thesis takes a Political Economy approach to explore, empirically, the potential impact of malfunctioning governmental institutions, proxied by three indices of perceived corruption, on FDI stocks accumulation/distribution within Russia over the period of 2002-2004. Using a regional data-set it concentrates on three areas relating to FDI. Firstly, it considers the significance, the size and the sign of the impact of perceived corruption on accumulation of FDI stocks within Russia. Secondly, it quantifies the impact of perceived corruption on the volume of FDI stocks simultaneously estimating the impact of the investment in public capital such as telecommunications and transportation networks on FDI in the presence of corruption. In particular, it addresses the question whether more corrupt regions in Russia are also those that could have accumulated more of FDI stocks, and investigates whether those 'more corrupt' regions would have had lower level of public capital investment. Finally, it examines whether decentralisation increases or decreases corruption and whether a larger extent of decentralisation has a positive or negative impact on FDI (stocks). The results of three studies are as follows. Firstly, along with market potential, corruption is found to be one of the key factors in explaining FDI distribution within Russia between 2002 and 2004. Secondly, corruption on average is found to be related to FDI positively suggesting that it may act as speed money: to save their time foreign direct investors might be willing to bribe the regional authorities so to move in front of the bureaucratic lines. Thirdly, although when corruption is controlled for, the impact of the latter on unobservable FDI is found to be on average positive, no association between FDI and public investment is observed with the only exception of transportation infrastructure (i.e., railway). The results might suggest therefore that it is possible that not only regions with high levels of perceived corruption attract more FDI but also that expansions in public capital investments are not accompanied by an increase of the volume of FDI (stocks) in regions with high levels of corruption. This casts some doubt on the productivity of the investment in public capital in these regions as it might be that bureaucrats may prefer to use these infrastructural projects for rent extraction. Finally, we find decentralisation to have a significant and positive impact on both FDI stock accumulation and corruption, suggesting that local governments may spend more on public goods to make the area more attractive to foreign investors but at the same time they may be interested into extracting rents from foreign investors. These results support the idea that the regulation of FDI is associated with and facilitated by a larger public sector, which distorts competition and introduces opportunities for rent-seeking by particular economic and political factors.

Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: Institutions,political economy,regional approach,public capital,decentralisation,Russia
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 08:39
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2011 10:26
Completed Date: 2010-02
Authors: Martyanova, Natalya


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