Title

Running Hot and Cold: Economic Liberalization and Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America by Sector

Publication Date

Winter 12-2013

Journal

Latin American Policy

Volume

4

Issue

2

First Page

238

Last Page

250

Abstract

This article examines the effects of market–oriented economic reforms on foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Latin America from 1985 to 2006. In contrast with most existing scholarship, we disaggregate FDI into its destination in the primary resource, manufacturing, and service sectors allowing us to determine that different kinds of investments exhibit distinct behavior. Notably, manufacturing FDI appears to be erratic; previous investment is not a predictor of current investment. FDI across sectors is associated with varying policy environments, with service and primary resource investment attracted to hosts with policies associated with more stable economic and political contexts. Overall, manufacturing FDI appears to function more like “hot” portfolio investment and is less likely to provide some of the positive spillover effects thought to be associated with more permanent FDI. These findings have an array of implications for economic, development, and industrial policies throughout Latin America and the developing world.

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