Familiarity Breeds Investment: Diaspora Networks and International Investment

What explains cross-national patterns of international portfolio and foreign direct investment (FDI)? While existing explanations focus on the credibility of a policy maker’s commitment, we emphasize the role of diaspora networks. We hypothesize that diaspora networks—connections between migrants residing in investing countries and their home country—influence global investment by reducing transaction and information costs. This hypothesis is tested using dyadic cross-sectional data for both portfolio and FDI. The findings indicate that even after controlling for a multitude of factors, disapora networks have both a substantively significant effect and a statistically significant effect on cross-border investment.

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David Leblang