Foto: Peter Ashley/Creative Commons/CC BY 2.0
Research project

Consequences of Investments for National Security (COINS)

2019 - 2023 (Ongoing)

How can liberal open societies reap the benefits of open economies, but at the same time protect their legitimate security interests? In the project “Consequences of Investments for National Security” (COINS) we are examining how liberal economies can attract foreign investments whilst at the same time mitigate the risks associated with such investments.

It is well known that foreign acquisitions and investments can have positive economic effects in the host country, contributing to transfer of knowledge and new technologies, innovation, increased productivity, job creation and increased tax revenues.

However, some foreign investments may potentially harm societal or national security, if they are related to critical infrastructure, create unhealthy dependencies or provide others unwanted access to sensitive information etc. Political attention to such issues has increased recently, partly as a result of increased vulnerabilities of societies, and partly as a result of changing patterns of investments flows, where China, Russia and Gulf States have become more significant actors.

In this project scholars from NUPI and the University of Oslo(Faculty of Law), and a strong group of international partners, will build on insights from political science, law and economics to develop a broader account of the relationship between the benefits of foreign investments and how to best protect legitimate national security concerns. In COINS we will explore:

  • How, under which conditions, and to what extent do foreign investments represent a security challenge, and how to conceptualize, interpret, measure, mitigate and manage such risks, in an age of digitalization.
  • We will also develop a new dataset on FDIs enabling us to better understand the scale, scope and developments of investements.
  • We will also conduct a cross national comparative studies of how different countries interpret and assesses risks and how they have designed legal and political instruments to mitigate such risks. We will also look into some of the pitfalls and possibilities of closer EU and European cooperation in managing FDIs.

The overall ambition of the project is to better improve our understanding of the risks associated with foreign investments, theoretically, conceptually and empirically, as well as provide research-based knowledge that can help to support decision making in how to best mitigate such risks.

See Morten S. Andersen, Hege Medin and Ulf Sverdrup from NUPI discuss Chinese Investments in Northern Europe, in a presentation of the COINS project at the 2nd China-Europe research highlights in CHERN's Online Series:

Funding program

The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway, the SAMRISK programme.