This article makes several contributions to the literature on political risk and the determinants of capital inflows. First, I clarify the relationship between capital flows and democracy’s constituent parts in a way that takes arguments beyond aggregate democracy indicators and static political institutional structures. Specifically, I argue that fair elections signal government respect for democracy and the rule of law in a highly visible manner investors can access. I show how investors therefore use the fairness of elections as a way to assess political risk and to inform their investment strategies. However, the type of investment and the kinds of evidence of electoral misbehavior condition elections’ influence on capital flows. I also disaggregate capital flows into foreign direct investment (FDI) and portfolio investment. I argue that the logic of investing is different in the short term (portfolio) versus the long term (FDI). When it comes to political risk, I provide evidence that portfolio investment is much more sensitive to risk factors than FDI because of the relative ease with which portfolio investors can extricate themselves from an increasingly risky market and seek safer returns elsewhere compared to direct investors.
- foreign direct investment
- political risk
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations