Document Type



This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only


Economics, Econometrics

Publication Details

Published in The World Economy


Foreign direct investment (FDI) statistics are widely used to study the impact of international capital movements and multinational enterprise (MNE) activities. FDI-intensity is also an important indicator of globalisation and economic integration. Datasets spanning long time periods and with broad country coverage have been employed in numerous studies to analyse various aspects of the determinants and consequences of FDI. Focusing on a relatively homogeneous group of six Western European EU countries, the present study finds major inconsistencies in the construction and coverage of these data both through time and across countries, leading to large discrepancies. Asymmetries will be far greater for broader groups of more economically and institutionally diverse countries. This study recommends extreme caution in drawing conclusions based on FDI data.