Reconsidering Political Risk In Developed Economies

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 4, No. 8, August 2016

By Julian M. Campisi

Introduction: A Macro Analysis of Political Risk

Nigel Farage, leader of Britain's UK Independence Party laughs as he points to a UKIP poster, before delivering a speech on the forthcoming EU referendum, in London, Friday, April 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Nigel Farage, leader of Britain’s UK Independence Party laughs as he points to a UKIP poster, before delivering a speech on the forthcoming EU referendum, in London, Friday, April 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The concept of political risk has landed at the forefront of media and scholarly outlets in the fields of international politics and economics after a turbulent first half to 2016. Exposure to a number of recent global ‘shocks’, including the latest waves of terrorist attacks, Brexit, and a failed coup d’état in Turkey, has led to a renewed sense of political and economic instability across the globe. However, until recently, the majority of scholars and practitioners working in the sub-field of political risk have mainly engaged with the political and economic factors that affect investments in developing economies—albeit for good reason. In many such countries, the stability and profitability of foreign investments or business ventures is more difficult to guarantee and to predict due to concerns related to political volatility, social upheaval, expropriations, and regulatory uncertainties. Yet developing nations are at the forefront of political risk analysis precisely because of the potentially lucrative business opportunities that accompany fairly rapid economic growth and development in frontier markets. Indeed, recent global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to developing countries, spurred by growth in Asia, significantly outweighed those to developed ones as table 1 shows below.

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