Policeman for the World: The Impact of Extraterritorial FCPA Enforcement on Foreign Investment and Internal Controls
58 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2019 Last revised: 8 Oct 2021
Date Written: October 8, 2021
We show that a mid-2000s increase in extraterritorial enforcement of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), characterized by greater international regulatory cooperation and more frequent use of the FCPA’s accounting provisions, has a significant deterrent effect on foreign direct investment in high-corruption-risk countries. The decrease in investment is at least as large for non-US as for US firms, suggesting that widespread extraterritorial enforcement helps to create a level foreign-investment playing field. Firms under US jurisdiction with fundamental characteristics that make it more difficult to maintain effective internal controls invest less in high-corruption-risk countries after the FCPA enforcement increase, suggesting regulatory compliance costs play a role in deterring investment. Consistent with investments in accounting systems being one way firms limit enforcement risk when investing in high-corruption-risk countries, firms pursuing new investments spend more time evaluating potential targets and firms with existing investments report fewer restatements related to unintentional errors.
Keywords: Foreign Corruption Regulation; Extraterritorial Enforcement; Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); Foreign Investment; Internal Controls
JEL Classification: F50; F60; K2; M4; O1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation