•We test the effects of bilateral FDI flows on host country productivity growth and productivity convergence dynamics.•We test whether FDI effects are conditional on the direction of flows between developed and developing countries.•Independent of their direction, the results show no significant effect of FDI on host country productivity growth.•The results suggest no significant effect of FDI on the productivity gap between the host and the frontier country.•The results are robust to the host country heterogeneity in human capital, openness, and sectoral productivity rates.
World Development – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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