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Growth effects of foreign direct investment and economic policy reforms in Latin America

Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya (2009): Growth effects of foreign direct investment and economic policy reforms in Latin America.

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Abstract

Both theoretical and empirical literature has identified several channels through which FDI influence economic growth in Latin America. This study however examines the impact on economic output growth using aggregate production function augmented with FDI inflows, policy reforms and the interaction between the two for 22 Latin American countries over 1980-2006 period. The results demonstrate the importance of FDI inflows and policy reforms on economic output growth. Though the interaction between the two highlights complimentary affect, the results are not significant. On the other hand, both FDI and reforms influence economic growth only post 1990s, the period in which many Latin American countries initiated drastic economic policy reforms. Despite these positive outcomes, the coefficient of FDI on economic growth is found to be smaller. This is because, though absolute FDI inflows have increased in the region over the years, the rate of growth of FDI in comparison to other developing regions like Asia is very low. The share of Latin American FDI to total developing countries declined from 1970 to 2006. This suggests that even though there is a positive impact of FDI and policy reforms on economic growth, this effect is only marginal and Latin America as an investment destination is less attractive than other developing regions like Asia today.

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