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Multinational Activity in Emerging Markets: How and When Does Foreign Direct Investment Promote Growth?

Geography, Location, and Strategy

ISBN: 978-1-78714-277-0, eISBN: 978-1-78714-276-3

Publication date: 19 April 2017


Among the prominent economic trends in recent decades is the exponential increase in flows of goods and capital driven by technological progress and falling of restrictions. A key driver of this phenomenon has been the cross-border production, foreign investment, and trade both final and intermediate goods by multinational corporations. Research has sought to understand how foreign direct investment (FDI) affects host economies. This paper reviews the main theories and empirical evidence of two streams of literature: the mechanisms by which multinational activity might create positive effects and externalities to countries and the role of complementary local conditions, also known as “absorptive capacities,” that allow a country to reap the benefits of FDI paying particular attention to the role of factor markets, reallocation effects, and the linkages generated between foreign and domestic firms. The survey focuses mainly on work related to developing countries.




I thank Juan Alcacer, Catherine Thomas, and two anonymous referees for valuable comments and suggestions and Katelyn Barry, Hayley Pallan, and Haviland Sheldahl-Thomason with support at various states of this project.


Alfaro, L. (2017), "Multinational Activity in Emerging Markets: How and When Does Foreign Direct Investment Promote Growth?", Geography, Location, and Strategy (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 36), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 429-462.



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