Local Institutions, Foreign Investment, and Alternative Strategies of Development: Some Views from Practice

By: ,

This Essay summarizes the major insights gained from a panel discussion with legal practitioners about the relevance of local institutions to foreign direct investors. The Essay offers a critique of policy conclusions drawn from empirical studies that suggest a positive correlation between legal institutions and foreign investment flows. It points out that the data used in these studies are far too general to allow policy conclusions and that neither the data nor the policy conclusions are sufficiently attuned to the challenges or opportunities that foreign direct investment projects face on the ground. According to the results of the panel discussion, greater emphasis should be placed on the diversity of institutions that may support different investment projects and the local conditions and constituencies that are necessary for successful investment projects.