Thursday, November 29, 2007

FDI related spillovers - The hard way

There aren’t many choices when you want to have flows and stocks of FDI (bilateral) among many countries. Usually people go for the OECD International Investment data which to my humble opinion is quite lame. I mean, I would expect at least to have flows among all OECD countries starting the 1990s but I guess it is to much to ask. So, just imagine how many observations can you get for, Armenia, par example. Well, usually 10-20 out of the 25 OECD times 16 years…well out of 400 let’s say. Is that workable? 
So, I decided to go with UNCTAD and their statistics. Not so inspired here either. Why? Well, they have it all at the aggregated level (total flows, stocks) but bilaterally it’s a bit better than OECD but the coverage and breakdown for developing countries is even worse (up to the national statistics office who collect the data). Moreover, the time varies 1990-2003, 04 or 05 and NATURALLY, the numbers do not match OECD ones .
The cherry on top: they are only available in PDF form!!! Not even excel… which is just great. Now I have to spend at least half an hour for each country migrating the data from PDF to Excel (which is not that easy in itself) then clean it, structure it and finally compute flows, shares, and fdi related spillovers. I just hope at the end of the day it wasn’t ALL in vain…since the data is quite scarce.

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