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The role of corporate governance in FDI decisions: Evidence from Taiwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739 - 763
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number6
PublishedDec 2005

King's Authors


There has been a considerable literature on the determinants of why firms undertake foreign direct investment (FDI), but very little on whether firms with different governance characteristics are more or less likely to venture overseas. For example, are family-controlled firms more predisposed to FDI than firms, with similar attributes, but different forms of ownership? Does the presence of institutional shareholders suggest a greater propensity to invest abroad? Does the composition of the Board of Directors have an impact? Most extant studies of corporate governance focus on the impact of governance factors on firm performance. However, these performance outcomes are a function of the strategic decisions made by the firms, which suggests it might be useful to consider the relationship between corporate governance factors and particular strategic decisions. One example is the decision to undertake foreign direct investment. The two main strands of IB literature on the determinants of FDI have little or nothing to say about how corporate governance factors might affect the FDI decision. Both internalisation theory and the resource-based view see FDI primarily as a means by which firms can appropriate rents in overseas markets from the exploitation of their idiosyncratic resources and capabilities. This paper extends this literature by investigating the effects of governance factors on the decision to undertake FDI. In particular, we want to assess the impact upon the FDI decision of (a) the extent of family control, (b) the presence of domestic and foreign institutional shareholders, and (c) the composition of the Board of Directors. We investigate these effects using a sample of 228 publicly listed firms in Taiwan, and our results clearly indicate that family control and share ownership by domestic financial institutions in Taiwanese firms are associated with the decision to undertake FDI. We also find that corporate governance impacts in different ways with regard to Taiwanese FDI in China in comparison to Taiwanese FDI in the rest of the world. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

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