The role of institutional systems and government policy in securing inward foreign direct investment in Kuwait. The impact of institutional and government policy systems on the inward foreign direct investment decision in Kuwait
Owens, Martin D.
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KeywordsInstitutionsMNC strategyGovernment policyKuwaitGulf regionInward FDINatural resourcesEconomic diversification
The University of Bradford theses are licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.
InstitutionUniversity of Bradford
DepartmentSchool of Management
Promoting economic diversity is important for states reliant on natural resources as the major source of economic development. Many of these states suffer from the Dutch disease leading to negative effects, which hinders economic diversification. One of the ways to reduce dependency on national resources is to encourage Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows, which aids diversification by the transfer of technology, the creation of new employment opportunities, and the adoption of modern management practices. The Gulf Council Cooperation (GCC) countries recognised the necessity and benefits of FDI as an aid to economic diversification; it seems, however, that Kuwait is lagging behind in this endeavour. The government of Kuwait has engaged in a series of policy measures to induce Multinational Companies (MNCs) to invest in Kuwait, but the results, thus far, have been disappointing. The formal and informal institutions interact in a variety of ways. However, ineffective formal rules can create different outcomes; particularly, in the presence of strong informal institutions. In such a case, formal rules and procedures are not enforced systematically, that is, enabling actors who are involved in the policy process to ignore or violate them, which subsequently results in a failure to attract inward FDI to a host country. Thus, this study investigates the reasons behind this failure by examining the role of formal and informal institutions on FDI policy and on decisions on whether to grant FDI licences by means of using a New Institutional Economics (NIE) approach. The conceptual framework is used as a guide for an inquiry into the subject of study by constructing a category of intellectual scaffolding, which would provide a coherent structure (Schlager, 2007). The conceptual framework in this study systematically organises the investigation into how a MNC examines a potential investment location by dividing the host country assessments into four distinct ¿stages¿. When systematically conducted, the respective approach is grounded in the existing literature, which provides theories regarding the behaviour of MNCs in relation to their decision-making processes for considering locations for their FDI projects. The research questions derived from the conceptual framework are answered using a mixed methods research approach that uses three sets of data survey, semi-structured interviews, and secondary data. Firstly, the findings show that almost that all MNCs in the Gulf region have a limited awareness regarding investment opportunities in Kuwait, FDI laws and regulations. Secondly, the findings reveal a number of attractive and unattractive locations, and institutional factors of Kuwait. Finally, it is discovered that the high rejection rate of FDI applications is linked to unsuccessful policy implementation, which is a result of interaction of both formal and informal institutions in Kuwait. Subsequently, the results are utilised to make a number of recommendations for government policy makers, administrators, and for MNCs regarding how to improve FDI inflows into Kuwait. The results are also used to contribute towards the international business literature concerning the institution based view of FDI, and for government policy connected to attracting FDI.