Investing in Friends: The Role of Geopolitical Alignment in FDI Flows
Firms and policy makers are increasingly looking at friend-shoring to make supply chains less vulnerable to geopolitical tensions. We test whether these considerations are shaping FDI flows, using investment-level data on over 300,000 instances of greenfield FDI between 2003 and 2022. Estimates from a gravity model, which controls for standard push and pull factors, show an economically significant role for geopolitical alignment in driving the geographical footprint of bilateral investments. This result is robust to the inclusion of standard bilateral drivers of FDI—such as geographic distance and trade flows—and the strength of the effect has increased since 2018, with the resurgence of trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Moreover, our results are not limited to greenfield FDI, but hold also for M&As.