The impact of electricity prices on foreign direct investment: evidence from the European Union

Eva Bartekova, Thomas Ziesemer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We examine the impact of electricity price variation on net FDI (%GDP) inflows in countries of the European Union. We use panel data of 27 EU countries for a period of 2003 - 2013. We show that electricity prices of south-western and north-eastern EU countries did not converge to one price until now. Dynamic panel data analysis using system GMM shows that besides unit labour costs, tax rates and competitive disadvantage in secondary education, also higher electricity prices reduce countries' ability to attract FDI. The immediate effects are statistically significant across both sub-regions analysed: in the short run, a 10% increase in electricity prices leads to a decrease in net FDI inflows as a share of GDP by 0.4 percentage points for the south-western and 0.33 for the north-eastern region. In the long run, the response is 0.60 percentage points for south-western and 0.48 for north-eastern regions. Policies should aim at reducing electricity market price differences on the European level through investment in transborder transmission capacity; reductions in FDI, when environmental policy increases after-tax electricity prices, should be countered by other tax reductions as well as harmonization of property rights, absence of corruption and labour market regulations at best-practice level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1198
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Economics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2019


  • Electricity prices
  • European Union
  • foreign direct investment (FDI)
  • generalised method of moments
  • FDI

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