Welcome to the Politics and Regulation of Investment Screening Mechanisms (PRISM)

Welcome to the Politics and Regulation of Investment Screening Mechanisms (PRISM), a research project led by Sarah Bauerle Danzman and Sophie Meunier on the evolution, features, and implications of investment screening measures in advanced industrialized democracies. 

At least since the end of the Cold War, most countries, wealthy or not, have been eager to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), widely seen as growth promoting and less likely to generate volatility than short-term capital flows. Many advanced industrialized economies, however, have recently implemented or expanded Investment Screening Mechanisms (ISMs), which empower governments to restrict foreign mergers and acquisitions (M&A), especially in strategic sectors. 

The expansion of investment screening challenges accepted wisdom about the role of state authority in the global economy, the ways in which governments compete with each other for mobile capital, and the influence of electoral politics in shaping orientations toward the global market. Yet, though part of a growing trend towards the securitization and geopoliticization of economic policy, ISMs are an understudied phenomenon, both in the International Political Economy and International Security literatures. We know little about the politics of their design features, nor about the costs they impose on the various actors involved. This research project begins to fill this gap by introducing the Politics and Regulation of Investment Screening Mechanisms dataset (PRISM), and suggesting ways in which the data can be used for analyzing important questions at the nexus of international political economy and national security. 

PRISM is conceived as a hub for research on ISMs worldwide. This is a collaborative research project bringing together different actors, including the BeautyContests project on Changing Politics of Foreign Investment in Europe. 

PRISM is funded by the Princeton Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, the EU Program at Princeton, and the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University.