The Role of Foreign Direct Investment in Economic Growth. The Production Function Perspective

  • Tomasz M. Napiórkowski Instytute of International Economics, Warsaw School of Economics


Throughout the studies on the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on the economic growth of the host economy, there is a significant heterogeneity in terms of the results; not only between the theory and empirics, but also within empirics itself. The aim of this study is to explain the heterogeneity of results of the previous studies on the benefits of hosting FDI. This work uses the topic-relevant literature to present the key benefits of inward FDI, which are then translated into a mathematical model, which the direct and indirect benefits are derived from and differentiated between. Firstly, this work develops a production function including the key direct and indirect effects of hosting FDI in order to (through the proof of endogenization of FDI) show that a simple inclusion of FDI as the next (usually along with capital and labor) factor of growth may lead to spurious and, therefore, inconsistent results. Secondly, the study introduces the Foreign Direct Investment Benefits Absorption Path, which due to its classification of host economies into four distinctive groups, differentiating between direct and indirect benefits of FDI, and showing their different ways of impacting the host’s economy provides a unique insight into the topic of heterogeneity of results on the impact of hosting FDI. It also provides a blueprint for further research into this topic. Lastly, the Foreign Direct Investment Benefits Absorption Path is used to develop FDI-related strategies aimed at increasing the economic growth of host countries.

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