June 1991

The Adequacy of U. S. Direct Investment Data

Lois E. Stekler and Guy V. G. Stevens


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: March 05, 2021