In my PhD research, I studied the mechanisms through which foreign direct investment contributed to development in East Central Europe (ECE). In development studies FDI is viewed as something of a silver bullet, for its supposed ability to transfer capital, skills and industrial know-how to local actors and create a developmental spillover effect. By contrast, I found that in East Central Europe the main effect of FDI is not to develop local industrial capabilities, but to substitute them with external resources. This includes not only the direct transfer of production capacities, but also of the institutional superstructure for the coordination of supplier networks, technology and capital, and even workforce training. The resulting ‘hyper-integrationist’ development raises novel challenges for the host states, which must build new institutional mechanisms to coordinate the activities of these external actors and steer them towards their own development goals.
During my time at the EUI, I plan to work on publishing my dissertation as a book. I also plan to continue research into the political underpinnings of hyper-integrationist development and the increasingly negative perception of its achievements in ECE.