Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2005 (Revised March 2010)

Foreign Direct Investment and Ireland's Tiger Economy (A)

by Laura Alfaro, Vinati Dev and Stephen McIntyre

Abstract

Describes Ireland's transformation from one of Europe's poorest countries to one of its richest in just 10 years, earning it the title Celtic Tiger. The spectacular story of growth and recovery is attributed, in large part, to foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly from the United Sates. The government of Ireland has continually nurtured the climate for investment and through its investment promotion arm, Ireland Development Authority (IDA), has aggressively sought investment projects. Despite the apparent miracle, some question the FDI-focused policy and special incentives given. Their skepticism stems largely from the fact that Ireland's indigenous industry has remained on the periphery of this transformation, with limited linkages to the foreign sector. Offers an opportunity to examine the debate surrounding FDI. Was FDI the key ingredient in Ireland's success? What does it take for a country to attract FDI? Did government agencies, specifically IDA, play a role in the Irish success story? Also, analyzes other causes of growth--namely, Ireland's entry into the European Union and subsequent larger market access, as well as a sound macroeconomic policy.

Keywords: Developing Countries and Economies; Economic Growth; Macroeconomics; Foreign Direct Investment; Policy; Business and Government Relations; Republic of Ireland;

Citation:

Alfaro, Laura, Vinati Dev, and Stephen McIntyre. "Foreign Direct Investment and Ireland's Tiger Economy (A)." Harvard Business School Case 706-007, July 2005. (Revised March 2010.)