The impact of trade openness on foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in emerging market economies
Mphigalale, Tshifhiwa Victor
MetadataShow full item record
This study examines the influence of trade openness on foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in emerging market economies. The study focuses on a sample of 15 emerging market economies during 1992-2006. The econometric framework utilised in the study consist of panel data analysis, although the pooled OLS model is first estimated in order to give the reader a sense of what to expect in the main results. Using alternative estimation techniques, the study shows that, indeed, trade openness carries with it the potential of harnessing more FDI into emerging market economies but this need to be complemented by appropriate macroeconomic and sectoral policies. Notably, as the results of the study suggest, foreign investors generally consider the host country's market size, its labour market practices with respect to the real wage, and the current and expected rates of inflation, in order to invest in the country. The results from the study suggests that, given identical trade openness strategies, emerging market economies that have larger market sizes are likely to be more successful in attracting FDI than those with smaller market sizes. The evidence also suggests that, given identical trade openness strategies, emerging market economies that have lower real wages and lower price inflation are likely to be more successful in attracting FDI than those with high real wages and high or variable price inflation. Finally, the findings of this study do not provide strong evidence in support of the fact that infrastructural development, property rights and external debt matter in attracting FDI into emerging markets. The policy implications of this study for South Africa, which is currently contesting for FDI with the fast growing and relatively larger economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (otherwise referred to as, BRICs), is that urgent attention needs to be given to the rising prices and wages provoked by increasingly strong unions, and weak anti-trust regulations in the country, in spite of a fairly successful inflation targeting framework adopted a decade ago.