Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Economics

Committee Chair(s)

Reza Oladi, John Gilbert


Reza Oladi


John Gilbert


Arthur J. Caplan


Basudeb Biswas


Frank N. Caliendo


During the 1970s and 1980s, developing countries, skeptical of foreign investment, imposed several barriers on entry of foreign capital. However, the late 1980s and 1990s marked the onset of globalization, which integrated the whole world into a single global economy. The once-conservative developing nations, realizing the multifarious benefits of foreign direct investment (FDI), began encouraging entry of foreign firms, using various incentives, such as tax holidays, production subsidies, cash grants, labor training grants, and import duty exemptions. Gradually, FDI and foreign aid became two very important sources of foreign capital for these capital-constrained economies. This dissertation is focused on studying if there is any kind of relationship between foreign aid and private investment in recipient countries. FDI is a decision made by foreign investors on the basis of profitability of investment, whereas foreign aid is a political decision made by governments of donor countries on the basis of need for financial assistance by developing countries. We model foreign aid as an exogenous factor in allocation of foreign direct investment, along with other variables, to estimate the effect of aid on investment. Among the factors affecting FDI, infrastructure is considered to be an important one, in allocation of funds across developing countries. This dissertation is arranged as follows. In chapter 2, we introduce the term ``socioeconomic'' infrastructure and create an index, by combining several components of infrastructure, using the multivariate technique of principal components. Prior to creating the index, we employ the technique of multiple imputation to deal with missing data. Our measure of socioeconomic infrastructure contains elements of physical infrastructure, such as transportation facilities, telecommunication facilities, consumption demand for energy and electricity, as well as social infrastructure components, such as voice and accountability, political stability and the absence of violence and terrorism, rule of law, control of corruption, government effectiveness, and regulatory quality. In chapter 3, we develop a theoretical model to address the research question: Does foreign aid impede or encourage foreign direct investment in developing nations? Our theory demonstrates that foreign aid used by the recipient country in financing a public input (known as development aid) encourages foreign direct investment. We also empirically address the same issue by modeling foreign aid as a determinant of foreign direct investment, along with a host of other factors, including our computed index of socioeconomic infrastructure. Our analysis shows that public consumption aid (foreign aid used for financing consumption expenses) does crowd out private investment in current account surplus developing countries, whereas development aid crowds in private investment in the presence of sound macroeconomic, political, legal, and administrative machineries. In chapter 4, we build a panel econometric model to explain the factors underlying socioeconomic infrastructure in developing countries. Our results indicate that countries with higher per capita income, a prominently large government, high investment demand, and large government revenue tend to have better infrastructure.



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