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Policy, institutional fragility, and Chinese outward foreign direct investment: An empirical examination of the Belt and Road Initiative

Dylan Sutherland (), John Anderson (), Nicholas Bailey () and Ilan Alon ()
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Dylan Sutherland: Durham University
John Anderson: University of Northern Iowa
Nicholas Bailey: University of Northern Iowa
Ilan Alon: University of Agder

Journal of International Business Policy, 2020, vol. 3, issue 3, No 4, 249-272

Abstract: Abstract The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an important policy agenda undertaken by the Chinese government. We explore how the BRI – as well as an associated policy, the creation of Chinese overseas special economic zones – influences Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI). We find that host-country institutional fragility positively influences Chinese FDI volumes, and that the impact of institutional fragility on Chinese inward FDI to the host is amplified in the presence of the BRI. Specifically, BRI policy facilitates FDI to countries with weaker rule of law and less government accountability. We argue that, while the BRI may actively facilitate economic growth (i.e., via infrastructure development), and in turn aspects of human development, particularly in less-developed economies, its likely impacts on political rights may not be so promising.

Keywords: Belt and Road Initiative; special economic zones; investment policy; institutional fragility; Chinese outward FDI (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1057/s42214-020-00056-8

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