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Does corruption limit FDI and economic growth? Evidence from MENA countries

Abdelaziz Hakimi (Faculté des Sciences juridique économique et de Gestion de Jendouba, University of Jendouba, Jendouba, Tunisia)
Helmi Hamdi (CERGAM, Aix-Marseille Universite, Aix-en-Provence, France)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 17 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effects of corruption on investment and growth in 15 Middle East and North African (MENA) countries during the period 1985-2013. The authors used the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) corruption index and conducted a panel cointegration analysis and Granger causality procedure to detect the dynamic relationships between the variables. Results indicate that corruption is a serious hurdle to economic growth in MENA countries since it affects investment activities and foreign direct investment inflows. In this case, policymakers have to implement effective anti-corruption strategies to avoid the epidemic of corruption.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used the ICRG corruption index and conducted a panel cointegration analysis and Granger causality procedure to detect the dynamic relationships between the variables.

Findings

The main findings of this paper show that corruption is a serious hurdle to economic growth in MENA countries since it affects investment activities and foreign direct investment inflows. In this case, policymakers have to implement effective anti-corruption strategies to avoid the epidemic of corruption.

Research limitations/implications

Unfortunately, in this study the authors did not use institutional variables to see their role and to judge whether governments should enhance the quality of institution and improve the corporate governance. This would be an opportunity to expand the sample and to conduct a new research in the near future to assess the real costs of corruption in the MENA region.

Practical implications

Governments and policymakers need to apprehend and admit that corruption is an important issue that deters foreign direct investment and threats the economic development and growth. Corruption can also deteriorate the infrastructure and increase the cost of doing business for both government and private sector which in turn will lower the growth (Tanzi and Doovi, 1997). It is worth recalling that during the past five years, a large part of the MENA region has witnessed multiple social upheavals. Hence, corruption must be tackled effectively and coherently to avoid further social tensions. It is the proper time to take serious steps and strict policy actions within a zero-tolerance framework to fight corruption and its widespread. New rules, laws, and anti-corruption procedures are among the most important initiatives that governments should implement. The governments should also increase the public awareness of the multiple drawbacks of corruption by publishing official reports and data on the most corrupted sector in the country. In this case, media will have a key role to diffuse the necessary information.

Originality/value

While most of the previous studies have employed GMM and OLS techniques, the authors opt a panel vector error correction model and cointegration technique to detect causality between the variables used in the model for the present study.

Keywords

Citation

Hakimi, A. and Hamdi, H. (2017), "Does corruption limit FDI and economic growth? Evidence from MENA countries", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 550-571. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJoEM-06-2015-0118

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited