FDI Flows in resource-rich countries: does the quality of institutions matter?

Suleiman O. Mamman, Azamat M. Valei


Relevance. Foreign investment is likely to be attracted to resource-rich countries because of their wealth of natural resources. However, the fact that foreign direct investment (FDI) contributes less than 10% of these countries’ GDP indicates that FDI has a non-proportional impact when compared to the size of the natural resources. Hence, it is critical to identify the missing link impeding resource optimization through FDI.

Research objective. Given the significance of FDI, the study seeks to ascertain whether the quality of institutions in resource-rich countries influences FDI inflows. This is significant because resource-rich countries may have other factors that encourage FDI but do not result in resource optimization.

Data and methods. The study employed panel data analysis to analyze the impact of FDI on economic growth in resource-rich countries and the role of institutions in attracting FDI. The study relies on the Augmented Mean Group Estimator and on the annual data from the World Bank's World Development Indicator and the World Bank's World Governance Indicator for the top ten resource-rich countries.

Results. Our preliminary evidence indicated that FDI had a positive and significant effect on economic growth in resource-rich countries. The extent of the influence, on the other hand, is minimal for all categories of countries. Our main results revealed that institutional quality has a significant pull effect on FDI, with trade openness playing a key role, particularly in resource-rich nations with well-developed institutions.

Conclusions. We found that institutional quality plays a critical role in attracting FDI, which could have hampered natural resource optimization. Furthermore, countries with high institutional quality and less restrictive investment policies attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) than countries with low institutional quality and with investment policies ranging from moderate to restrictive. In general, resource-rich countries, particularly those with weak institutional qualities, should address the gap in institutional quality to attract more inward investment.


institutions; economic growth, FDI, resource-rich countries; panel model, augmented mean group, investment policy, governance

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15826/recon.2023.9.1.006

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