Regulatory Investment Incentives

Date: Feb, 2002
ODID Working Paper No. 80
Author(s): Valpy FitzGerald (QEH)

This paper examines recent policy issues relating to foreign investment incentives in the regulatory domain. By 'regulatory incentives' in this context we mean those administrative conditions offered by governments to foreign firms other than special fiscal (eg tax) or financial (eg subsidies) treatment. The key issue addressed in this paper is whether competition between host countries for inward investment on the basis of their regulatory regimes has any effect on the level and 'quality' (technology, stability, employment etc) of that investment on the one hand. And on the other hand, whether such competition between countries leads to a welfare loss to that country and other OECD members or non-members. Section 2 examines the economic principles involved in the analysis of the impact of regulatory incentives on the investment decision of the international firm; where the predictability of future regulatory policy can be as significant to investment decisions as the particular standard enforced. Section 3 explores three current issue areas in relation to regulatory incentives at the national level: (i) property rights and market access rules; (ii) environmental protection; and (iii) labour standards. Section 4 addresses the existing international codes and agreements that might provide an alternative to, or support for, national regulatory arrangements and overcome the co-ordination problem. Section 5 concludes with some suggestions as to a possible agenda for policy research.

ODID Author(s)