The role of foreign direct investment in growth: Spain, 1964–2013
Foreign direct investment (FDI) has played a major role in the deep process of transformation experienced by the Spanish economy since the first 1960s, which even intensified, following the integration with the now European Union in 1986. This paper aims to analyse the long-run effects of FDI in Spain by estimating a production function including the foreign capital stock over the period 1964–2013.Design/methodology/approachThe author estimates a production function including the foreign capital stock over the period 1964–2013, from which the contributions of the different explanatory variables on the accumulated growth of gross domestic product (GDP) are computed. Next, the author tested for the possible presence of structural change in the previously estimated equation, by means of the tests of Bai and Perron, re-estimating the production function for the different subperiods delimited by the structural breaks found. Finally, the analysis is completed by performing Granger-causality tests on the variables GDP and foreign capital stock in a multivariate setting.FindingsThe author finds a significant contribution of foreign capital on the accumulated growth of GDP over the period of analysis, which seems however to have been greater during the first years of the period analysed. Foreign capital can play a positive role in the economic growth of an economy, provided that FDI inflows are stable and permanent enough, but this effect on growth seems to be more important in the first stages of a growth process.Originality/valueThe author presents a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between FDI and growth for a particular country, which seems to be a more promising empirical approach rather than the approach based on panel regressions, where sometimes some dissimilar experiences are added together. The Spanish economy can provide a relevant case study, given the substantial process of growth it enjoyed starting from the early 1960s, characterized by the arrival of vast inflows of foreign capital.