Ali, Fathi A. Ahmed
Essays on foreign direct investment, institutions, and economic growth.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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The aim of this thesis is to explore and study various dimensions of the interaction between one of the most important institutional quality aspects, namely property rights, and one important aspect of integration into the world economy: foreign direct investment (FDI), and links them to economic growth. In particular, this thesis explores whether the interaction between institutions and FDI has any implication for economic growth and whether there is any complementarity between the role of institutions and the role of FDI in fostering economic growth.
To achieve this aim, the thesis was designed to include four empirical chapters in addition to two chapters: one for the introduction and the other for the conclusion. The first two empirical chapters studied the interrelationship between FDI and institutions. And the other two empirical chapters studied the implication of the interrelationship and the complementarity between FDI and institutions for economic growth. Chapter one motivated the thesis and set its aim and structure. The second chapter studies the role of institutions in determining FDI inflows and shows that institutional quality is one of the most important determinants of FDI. Based on this result, chapter three introduces a hypothesis that foreign investors will create a demand for better institutions in host countries, and that governments competing to attract more FDI will be induced to provide such institutions, leading to improvements in institutional quality in host countries. The empirical evidence reported in this chapter supports this hypothesis and shows that FDI inflows have a positive impact on property rights in host countries. Chapter four explores whether institutions play a role in determining the contribution of FDI to economic growth. The results presented in this chapter show that a host country needs to achieve a minimum level of institutional quality in order to be able to benefit from the positive externalities offered by FDI. Based on the results of chapter three, chapter five investigates whether the positive impact of FDI in institutional quality on host countries can be considered as a new growth-enhancing role for FDI. The results reported in chapter five show that the impact of FDI on economic growth that works via institutions, is a significant one, and is generally greater and more robust than the direct impact.
Over all, the major contribution of this thesis is that it shows that a better understanding of the contribution of FDI to economic growth requires taking into account the interrelationship and the complementarity between FDI and institutions.
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