Foreign direct investment and its impact on the New Zealand economy : cointegration and error correction modelling techniques : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Economics at Massey University, New Zealand
Ongoing globalisation has resulted in more liberalisation, integration, and competition among countries. An upshot of this has been higher levels of cross-border investment. Foreign direct investment (FDI), long considered an engine of growth, has led to widespread probe with its recent rapid spread. Nevertheless, while research on the contribution of FDI to host countries has concentrated heavily on the developed and developing economies, there has been a marked neglect of small, developed economies. This study proposes to focus on New Zealand, a country that falls within the latter category. The study seeks to verify econometrically the impact of FDI on the country through causality links with growth, trade, domestic investment and labour productivity. The analysis is based upon time-series data, the econometric techniques of single, autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL), and the multiple equations approach, vector error correction method (VECM). The study found that there have been substantial gains to the New Zealand economy. A positive effect of FDI on the variables mentioned above led to an improvement of the balance of payments through an increase in exports rather than in imports. Economic growth has mainly been achieved through FDI's impact on exports and domestic private investment. The dynamic innovation techniques indicated a bi-directional causality between FDI and the variables. The long-run causality, however, runs mainly from growth and labour productivity to FDI rather than in the opposite direction. Another noticeable feature is that New Zealand's regional agreement with Australia, Closer Economic Relations, has brought the country significant gains in terms of growth and development through FDI. Both the ARDL and VECM approaches suggest that for a small, developed country qualitative impacts are greater than quantitative ones. The policy implication is that maintaining sustainable economic growth with a positive domestic investment environment is vital for attracting foreign investors. New Zealand, while continuing to encourage inward FDI, should aim to channel it into 'innovative' tradable sectors. The challenge lies in providing the right kind of policy mix for this purpose.