Missing Links: Foreign Investment and Industrial Development in Costa Rica and Mexico
Published on Mar 1, 2008in Studies in Comparative International Development0.83
· DOI :10.1007/s12116-007-9016-2
This article offers an analytical framework for understanding the missing links between FDI and development, and applies it to the high technology sectors of Costa Rica and Mexico, the two countries in Latin America that have attracted the highest percentage of FDI in manufacturing. Since the advancement of knowledge-based assets in this sector is at the heart of structural change and development, we focus specifically on the conditions that enable or prevent positive knowledge spillovers from FDI. We identify two main reasons for the missing links between high-tech FDI and the development of indigenous knowledge-based assets in Costa Rica and Mexico. First, their governments did not have a coherent strategy, which would have spelled out the needed government policies to advance national capabilities, overcome market failures, and support the integration of national producers into TNCs’ global production networks. Second, there were limitations on the spillover potential from FDI. In Costa Rica and Mexico, technology or scale requirements for inputs made it difficult for large TNCs to source domestically beyond simple inputs like packaging materials. In Mexico, fundamental changes in the organization of global production chains in the computer industry led TNCs to rely on their global contract manufacturers rather than work with potential Mexican input suppliers.