Evolving foreign investment policies: causes and impact

This interdisciplinary project explores the nature, causes and consequences of the rising securitisation of foreign investment in politically sensitive sectors, critical infrastructure and data assets.

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As a Fulbright Senior Scholar, Andrew Walter will be building on an ARC-funded research project that considers how and why inward foreign investment policy in some countries has been increasingly subject to “screening” and review on national security grounds. Policies in countries as diverse as Australia, China, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States have in recent years paid closer attention to the implications of foreign influence and control over assets deemed to be politically sensitive. This is associated with a reversal of the previous longstanding trend towards rising openness to global capital flows and foreign ownership, though this policy trend is far from universal. We are investigating the large policy variation regarding the treatment of inward foreign investment and the role of the digitalisation of the economy and information, the rise of China and other emerging outward investors, and deteriorating diplomatic relations between major countries. We are also investigating the economic, political and legal implications of these policy shifts, including the appropriate balance between enhancing national security, prosperity and international cooperation. While in Washington DC, Andrew will research the influential case of the United States.


The project team is building a multi-country database of inward foreign investment policies and their evolution; undertaking four in-depth case studies of Australia, China, Mexico and the United States; developing links with international organisations and other researchers working in this field; producing conference papers, journal articles and a monograph; building local early career research expertise through an associated PhD scholarship and a research fellowship.


  • Using text as data and other methods to track changes in inward investment policies and law
  • Building a multi-country dataset on foreign investment policies
  • Better understanding the causes and consequences of the rising securitisation of foreign investment
  • Developing early career research expertise in this field
  • Generating policy-relevant knowledge about the appropriate balancing of national policy objectives.


Fulbright Senior Scholarship


Professor Andrew Walter