Investment and Expropriation under Oligarchy and Democracy in a Heckscher-Ohlin World
35 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2008
Date Written: January 18, 2008
We study the incentives to expropriate foreign capital under democracy and oligarchy. We model a two-sector small open economy where foreign investment triggers Stolper-Samuelson effects through reducing exporting costs. We show how incentives to expropriate depend on the distributional effects of the investment and on how these affect the interests of the group in power. How investment affects the incomes of the different groups in society depends on the sectors where these investments are undertaken and the structural features of the economy such as factor intensity. We characterize expropriation equilibria and show that if investment is undertaken in the sector that uses labor less intensively, democracies are generally more prone to expropriate. This result provides one possible rationalization for the wave of expropriations in Latin America under governments with a broad popular base during the 20th Century.
Keywords: expropriation, political regimes, democracy, oligarchy, foreign investments, Stolper-Samuelson
JEL Classification: D72, D74, H71, 015, P16, P14
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