New questions dealing with the growth of foreign direct investment in the United States have prompted this reassessment of the adequacy of
U.S. data on direct investment--data on both foreign direct investment in the United States and U.S. direct investment abroad. We have examined the adequacy of the existing data system for answering important questions in a number of areas--some of them new, but others of longstanding interest: the coverage and accuracy of the data, and the public's accessibility to them; the measurement of the U.S. investment position and servicing burden; the interaction between direct investment and the trade balance; the impact of direct investment operations on a country's economic welfare; and the explanation and forecasting of direct investment flows and activities. A series of conclusions and recommendations is collected in the last section of the paper.
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Last update: October 16, 2008