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Foreign direct investment and institutional quality: empirical evidence from South America

Victor Owusu-Nantwi (Pennsylvania State University, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, USA)

Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences

ISSN: 1026-4116

Article publication date: 3 June 2019

Issue publication date: 3 June 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of institutional quality on foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in South America.


The study uses two-stage least squares (2SLS) and fixed effect ordinary least squares regression analyses to examine the relationship between institutional quality and FDI in South America.


The study finds a significant positive relationship between institutional quality index and FDI. This implies that improvements in the institutional quality relate to increases in the flow of FDI to South America. Domestic capital, GDP per capita growth, and trade positively relate to FDI. However, the coefficient of trade is not significant. This implies that increases in these variables relate to increases in FDI flows to South America.

Practical implications

The study recommends that quality of institutions matter to the flow of FDI and therefore, efficient institutional reforms should be a priority for policymakers as this creates a conducive investment environment to attract FDI in South America. Further, policies that are focused on promoting competition, open market, and effective non-corrupt public institution as well as open and transparent legal and regulatory regimes, and effective delivery of government services should be the priority of policymakers in South America (Mishra and Daly, 2007).


The study uses a single measure of institutional quality based on a broad set of institutional indicators. This broad measure of institutional quality differs from the available studies that mainly focused on single aspects of institutional quality, that is, either corruption, governance, or political risk.



The author of this paper has not made their research data set openly available. Any enquiries regarding the data set can be directed to the corresponding author.


Owusu-Nantwi, V. (2019), "Foreign direct investment and institutional quality: empirical evidence from South America", Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 66-78.



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