University of Cambridge > > CISA Talks - Cambridge International Studies Association > Does Stealing from Foreigners Increase Quality of Life? How Expropriation Affects Domestic Human Rights

Does Stealing from Foreigners Increase Quality of Life? How Expropriation Affects Domestic Human Rights

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Chair/Discussant: Dr Nikitas Konstantinidis, POLIS, Cambridge

Recently, scholars have applied rigorous statistical techniques to understand the consequences of stealing from foreign investors. The first articles tested how expropriation affects future foreign investment flows, and subsequent work has analyzed why some geo-polities expropriate more than others. Few, however, look beyond investment flows. In reality, political leaders often attest that expropriation is undergone for the good of their people (raising employment, reducing poverty, etc). Many have questioned the veracity of these claims though. There are often strong economic and political incentives to use seized assets for private allocation. In this spirit, scholars argue that outright expropriation is more likely to occur in political regimes with fewer political constraints on the executive (Jensen 2008) and greater access to natural resource wealth (Jensen and Johnston 2011). Both are among the political and geographical determinants that may lead to political repression. Thus, while expropriation may reduce exploitation, increase autonomy, and increase economic opportunities in the host country, it may also be used to further repressive activities. This paper will be the first in political science to analyze how expropriation affects domestic economic conditions, across geo-political borders, beyond simply investment flows. It will also be the first to analyze the consequences of expropriation, for domestic human rights. The current literature is focused on FDI flows, but this paper argues that this may not be the only measurable consequence of expropriation, nor the most insidious.

This talk is part of the CISA Talks - Cambridge International Studies Association series.

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