Capital outflows and the environment: fresh evidence from M&A purchases and greenfield FDI

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We analyze how the mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and greenfield foreign direct investment (GFDI) outflows impact the host countries' air pollution at the sectoral level. Following the recent advent of multinationals from emerging economies, we examine outflows rather than inflows. Evidence indicates that there are important distinctive effects of FDI mode of exit. GFDI outflows benefit the environment in the full sample and developing countries, supporting the reverse-pollution haven hypothesis, and at the industry level in the electrical power industry and building. The positive impact of M&A outflows on the environment is revealed only when data is disaggregated further into the industry level in the transport industry of developed economies and the electrical power industry of developing countries. We find that heterogeneities caused by countries' development levels and the FDI's two exit modes, M&As deteriorate the environment less than GFDI.