Brazil, BITs and FDI: A Synthetic Control Approach




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Brill Academic Publishers


The explosion in bilateral investment treaties (BITs) signed between countries in the 1990s and the concurrent surge in foreign direct investment (FDI) flows draw substantial attention in the literature. This article tackles the controversial relationship between BITs and FDI inflows using an innovative technique: the synthetic control method. Brazil is a peculiar case because it is one of the few cases where FDI inflows had a significant surge even in the complete absence of BITs. Did foreign investors really not need BITs in order to invest in Brazil? I find evidence that, although Brazil received substantial amounts of FDI even in the absence of BITs, had they enacted any BIT, the inflow in the period would have been greater. The method builds a synthetic Brazil from a pool of other countries providing this way a better comparative analysis. The findings are robust to both in-space and in-time placebo experiments.


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Bilateral investment treaties, Brazil, Investments, Foreign, Natural disasters, Economic impact analysis, Cost


©2018 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden