This article reviews scholarly research on the political economy of foreign direct investment (FDI) over the past 20 years. FDI research during this period reflects FDI's rapid growth, particularly in developing countries, and the emergence of intense competition among countries to attract investments. Countries have grown more open to FDI as evidenced by FDI deregulation, generous financial investment incentives, and the adoption of international agreements. Although extensive research shows that multinational corporations prefer to invest in countries with strong property rights protections, whether incentives and international agreements help countries attract FDI remains contested. Scholars can advance research by disaggregating FDI into multinational firms' specific production activities because the scope for countries to compete for FDI and firms' sensitivity to property rights vary widely. More generally, scholars should recast the separate study of trade and FDI into the study of global production in which trade and FDI are inextricably linked.


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