Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC Irvine

Essays on Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Development and Economic Institutions


This dissertation seeks to highlight the relationship between foreign investment, financial development, and economic institutions in developing countries. The determinants and impact of foreign investment has been of particular scholarly interest over the past two decades, with only recent focus on developing countries. The first two chapters focus on the institutional determinants (domestic and international) of foreign direct investment (FDI) in developing countries. The third chapter accesses the domestic distributional consequences of foreign investment in developing countries.

The first chapter focuses on the domestic institutional determinants of foreign direct investment and financial deepening. Specifically, I create an institutional quality index that addresses investors desire to know more about the institutional environment within developing countries. Building upon and expanding previous theoretical frameworks for determinants of foreign and domestic capital flows, I utilize cross-sectional empirical analysis to assess the role that institutions play in promoting financial development and foreign direct investment. I find that institutional quality has a positive and significant on both foreign direct investment and financial deepening.

This second chapter examines the significance of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) in promoting FDI between developing (South-South) countries. Drawing on intra-regional investment data from MENA countries, this paper initiates the examination of South-South BITs, their impact on FDI, and the theoretical channels through which changes in FDI occur. The results of my time-series cross-sectional analysis suggest that the signing of South-South BITs have a positive impact on FDI flows, but under different circumstances than North-South agreements.

The final chapter considers the distributional consequences of foreign direct investment in developing countries. Specifically, I access the impact of foreign investment on the level of democracy and the level of income inequality. Additionally, I estimate the intervening impact of domestic financial development and how this interacts with FDI and the dependent variables. I find that in a sample of developing countries, FDI increases levels of democracy, as well income inequality, and that domestic financial development has an interactive effect.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View