Does Foreign Direct Investment Accelerate Vietnamese Economic Growth? – A Simultaneous Equations Approach

Hiep Ngoc Luu, Vu Quang Trinh, Nam Hoai Nguyen

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The main purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on economic growth in Vietnam over the five-year post-crisis period of 2010-2014. In addition, it also provides a comparative analysis with the pre-crisis period to yield greater insight into how the FDI-growth nexus evolved over time and under different economic conditions. Our empirical work is based on a panel data set containing 63 provinces in Vietnam. We start our analytical section by examining the FDI-growth relationship using two simple ordinary-least-square (OLS) models, where FDI and economic growth are the dependent variables and are regressed on a number of other factors that seemingly influence FDI and growth. With an awareness of the possible endogeneity bias, we re-estimate our model using the simultaneous equation approach, employing the two-step system generalized method of moment (GMM) estimator. We complement our study by re-estimating the model on the pre-crisis sample during the period 1999-2006. Then, we re-run our regressions on the full-sample setting and take into account the possible effect of the 2007/2008 crisis by incorporating the crisis dummy variables (D2007 and D2008) to shed more light on the impact of the crisis on FDI and economic growth. Overall, we find some evidence of the simultaneous relationship: increased inward FDI promotes economic growth, while at the same time, greater growth could help the country to attract additional FDI capital. However, this bi-directional relationship only existed in the post-crisis period, and not in the pre-crisis time. During the pre-crisis period, growth does not exhibit a significant impact on FDI, while FDI is found to be an important driver of growth. In our full-sample setting, we find a robust positive significant influence of FDI on economic growth. However, economic growth, again, does not exhibit a significant positive impact on FDI. Some other factors, including domestic investment, market size, exports, level of trade openness and infrastructure development, either promote economic growth or inward investment. We also find some evidence suggesting that Vietnam should invest more in human capital to obtain a sufficient absorptive capability in order to benefit from advanced technologies and knowledge transfers that accompany inward FDI. In the end, our empirical findings suggest that the country should implement a more ‘open door’ policy to exploit further benefits from additional FDI inflows.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-345
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Developing Areas
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


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