Policeman for the World: The Impact of Extraterritorial FCPA Enforcement on Foreign Investment and Internal Controls
57 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2019 Last revised: 3 Sep 2020
Date Written: September 2, 2020
We show that a mid-2000s increase in US extraterritorial enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), characterized by greater international regulatory cooperation and more frequent use of the FCPA’s accounting provisions, has a significant deterrent effect on foreign direct investment in high-corruption-risk countries. The decrease in investment is at least as large for non-US as for US firms, suggesting that increased extraterritorial enforcement helps to level the foreign-investment playing field. Firms with fundamental characteristics that make it more difficult to maintain effective internal controls invest less in high-corruption-risk countries, suggesting regulatory compliance costs play an important role in deterring investment. Consistent with investments in accounting systems being one margin firms move on to limit enforcement risk when investing in high-corruption-risk countries, firms pursuing new investments spend more time evaluating potential acquisition targets and firms with existing investments report fewer internal-control weaknesses and restatements related to unintentional errors.
Keywords: Foreign Corruption Regulation; Extraterritorial Enforcement; Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); Foreign Investment; Internal Controls
JEL Classification: F50; F60; K2; M4; O1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation