5 Mar 2019
The Demand-Side Politics of China’s Global Buying Spree: Managers' Attitudes toward Chinese Inward FDI Flows in Comparative Perspective
WTI Working Paper 02/2019 by SNSF Professor Damian Raess investigates public opinion toward Chinese FDI inflows in Switzerland. Prof. Raess delivered a Brown Bag Seminar on 12 March at the WTI on the same topic.
I investigate public opinion toward Chinese FDI inflows in advanced economies, comparing attitudes toward such investment with attitudes toward American and European FDI inflows. I am interested in whether concerns with technology transfer (and related job losses) commonly associated with Chinese FDI resonate among the key target audience, namely managers. Accordingly, I expect managers to less strongly support Chinese FDI inflows relative to FDI inflows from advanced economies when they are employed in high R&D industry. I expect both self-interested and socio-tropic motives to drive the split in how managers view Chinese FDI vs. European and American FDI. Because technology transfer occurs in acquisitions, I also expect industry-level exposure to Chinese acquisitions to reinforce the negative joint impact of being a manager and employment in high R&D industries on support for Chinese FDI. Using original survey data from Switzerland, I find robust evidence for my expectations. The findings point to occupational characteristics and the fear of technology transfer as key drivers of opposition to Chinese FDI in advanced economies, and suggest that the demand-side politics of Chinese inward FDI is unique.