Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2010

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Political Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation analyzes the politics of foreign direct investment (FDI) from China to other developing states. Chinese outward FDI is positively correlated with political risk and increasingly destined for states with high corruption and weak rule of law, factors that have been found to deter inward FDI. To explain successful Chinese investment in such environments, I present a theory of how Chinese bilateral policies, particularly foreign aid, shape incentives for the leadership in the receiving country that constrain predatory behavior against Chinese firms by the foreign government. This creates a de facto insurance for Chinese investors in foreign states lacking the democratic institutions shown to protect investments. Findings based on fieldwork in China, Cambodia and Kazakhstan support the hypotheses of the theory for Chinese state owned enterprises, but not for private Chinese firms. This study contributes to a relatively small body of research addressing rising investment among developing states and is unique in analyzing how political institutions in both the sending and receiving state affect investment flows.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Andrew Sobel

Committee Members

Nathan Jessen, Andrew Merta


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