Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Determinants of Investment Attractiveness of Polish Special Economic Zones



Objective: The objective of this article is to explain why some Special Economic Zones in Poland have attracted more foreign and domestic investment than others.

Research Design & Methods: Referring to the OLI paradigm, we identified 25 variables which might impact the stock of investment in each individual SEZ. They were divided into three groups: zone’s investment climate, investors’ opinions and region-level factors. We used correlation and regression analyses to check dependencies.

Findings: The investment climate mattered most. Regional level characteristics were the least important. Foreign investors were more concerned than domestic ones about the location factors we considered. There is clearly a closer correlation between SEZ reputation and the number rather than the value of investment projects. It may mean that small investors pay more attention to the opinions which circulate in business circles and that big companies probably rely on their own evaluation of a SEZ’s investment climate.

Implications & Recommendations: Special Economic Zones in less developed parts of Poland can successfully compete for capital if they are well managed. Tax reliefs are secondary for choosing a particular zone. Supply factors count much more. The most important factors for attracting FDI were: outlays on the provision and moderni-sation of zone infrastructure, the number of towns and cities, overall investment attractiveness of voivodeships, as well as labour resources and costs.

Contribution & Value Added: Location advantages and their significance for domestic and foreign investors were rarely examined at the SEZ level.



special economic zones, foreign and domestic investors, location premises, investment attractiveness, investment policy tools, state aid



  1. Aggarwal, A. (2012). Social and Economic Impact of SEZs in India. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Ambroziak, A.A. (2016). Income Tax Exemption as a Regional State Aid in Special Economic Zones and Its Impact upon Development of Polish Districts. Oeconomia Copernicana, 7(2), 245-267.
  3. Baissac, C. (2011). Brief History of SEZs and Overview of Policy Debates. Retrieved from on June 20, 2018.
  4. Balcerowicz, L. (1992). 800 dni. Szok kontrolowany. Warszawa: Polska Oficyna Wydawnicza “BGW”.
  5. Blanc-Brude, F., Cookson, G., Piesse, J., & Strange, R. (2014). The FDI location decision: distance and the effects of spatial dependence. International Business Review, 23(4), 797-810.
  6. Briant, A., Lafourcade, M., & Schmutz, B. (2015). Can Tax Breaks Beat Geography? Lessons from the French Enterprise Zone Experience. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 7(2), 88-124. Retrieved from on August 20, 2018.
  7. Braütigam, D., & Xiaoyang, T. (2011). African Shenzhen: China’s Special Economic Zones in Africa. Journal of Modern African Studies, 49(1), 27-54.
  8. Ciżkowicz, P., Ciżkowicz-Pękała, M., Pękała P., & Rzońca, A. (2017). The effects of special economic zones on employment and investment: a spatial panel modeling perspective. Journal of Eco-nomic Geography, 17(3), 571-605. Retrieved from on May 28, 2018.
  9. Colliers International (2016). Special Economic Zones in Poland: Investment potential.
  10. Development of Special Economic Zones. Ministry of Economy, January 2009.
  11. Dorożyński, T., Świerkocki, J., & Urbaniak, W. (2017). The FDI Inflow to Special Economic Zones in Poland. In S. Grima, F. Bezzina, I. Romānova & R. Rupeika-Apoga (Eds.), Contemporary Issues in Finance: Current Challenges from Across Europe. Contemporary Studies in Economic and Fi-nancial Analysis, Volume 98, (pp. 135-159). UK, North America, Japan, India, Malaysia, China: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  12. Dunning, J.H. (1977). Trade, location of economic activity and the MNE: A search for an eclectic approach. In B. Ohlin, P.O. Hesselborn & P.M. Wijkman (Eds.), The international allocation of economic activity (pp. 395-418). London: Macmillan.
  13. Dunning, J.H. (2000). The eclectic paradigm as an envelope for economic and business theories of MNE activity. International Business Review, No 9, 163-190.
  14. Dunning, J.H. (2001). The Eclectic (OLI) Paradigm of International Production Past, Present and Future. International Journal of the Economics of Business, 8(2), 173-190.
  15. Dunning, J.H., & Lundan, S.M. (2008). Multinational Enterprises and the Global Economy. Chelten-ham, UK, Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  16. Ekholm, K., Forslid, R., & Markusen, J.R. (2003). Export-Platform Foreign Direct Investment. NBER Working Paper, No. 9517.
  17. Faeth, I. (2009). Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment – a Tale of Nine Theoretical Models. Journal of Economic Surveys, 23(1), 165-196.
  18. Farole, T. (2011). Special Economic Zones in Africa. Comparing Performance and Learning from Global Experience. The World Bank, Washington.
  19. Farole, T., & Akinci, G. (2011). Special Economic Zones. Progress, Emerging Challenges, and Future Directions. The World Bank, Washington.
  20. Fidrmuc, J., Kostagianni, S. (2015). Impact of IMF Assistance on Economic Growth Revisited. Eco-nomics and Sociology, 8(3), 32-40.
  21. Frick, S., Rodríguez-Pose, A., & Wong, M. (2018). Towards economically dynamic Special Economic Zones in emerging countries. Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography, No 1816, Utrecht University.
  22. Gobillon, L., Magnac, T., & Selod, H. (2010). Do Unemployed Workers Benefit from Enterprise Zones? The French Experience. Retrieved from on August 20, 2018.
  23. Harding, T., & Javorcik, B.S. (2013). Roll Out the Red Carpet and They Will Come: Investment Pro-motion and FDI Inflows. The Economic Journal, 121, 1445-1476.
  24. Helpman, E. (2013). Foreign Trade and Investment: Firm-Level Perspectives, Working Paper 19057. Retrieved from on August 20, 2018.
  25. Helpman, E. (1984). A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations. The Journal of Political Economy, 92(3), 451-471.
  26. Helpman, E., Melitz, M.J., & Yeaple, S.R. (2004). Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms, American Economic Review, 94(1), 300-316.
  27. Hlaváček, P. , & Siviček, T. (2017). Spatial differences in innovation potential of central European regions during post-transformation period. Journal of International Studies, 10(2), 61-73. -2/4
  28. Information about the implementation of the Act on Special Economic Zones, 2009-2017. Ministry of Economy, Warsaw.
  29. James, S. (2013). Tax and Non-Tax Incentives and Investments: Evidence and Policy Implications, Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group.
  30. Jensen, C., & Winiarczyk, M. (2014). Special Economic Zones – 20 Years Later. CASE Network Stud-ies & Analyses, No. 467/2014.
  31. Kim, J.U., & Aguilera, R.V. (2016). Foreign Location Choice: Review and Extensions. International Journal of Management Reviews, 18, 133-159.
  32. Kolko, J., & Neumark, D. (2009). Do Some Enterprise Zones Create Jobs. NBER Working Paper Series, No 15206.
  33. KPMG (2014). 20 years of special economic zones in Poland.
  34. Lichota, W. (2016). Efektywność finansowa specjalnych stref ekonomicznych w Polsce. Gospodarka Narodowa, 1/2016, 99-130.
  35. Lautier, M., & Moreau, F. (2012). Domestic Investment and FDI in Developing Countries: The Miss-ing Link. Journal Of Economic Development, 37(3), 1-23.
  36. Markusen, J.R. (1984). Multinationals, Multi-Plant Economies and the Gain from Trade. Journal of International Economics, 16, 205-216.
  37. Markusen, J.R. (2002). Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  38. Melitz, M.J. (2003). The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity. Econometrica, 6, 950-959.
  39. Meyer, K.E., & Hung Vo Nguyen (2005). Foreign Investment Strategies and Sub-national Institutions in Emerging Markets: Evidence from Vietnam. Journal of Management Studies, 42(1), 63-93.
  40. Moberg, L. (2015). The political economy of special economic zones. Journal of Institutional Eco-nomics, 11(1), 167-190.
  41. Nielsen, B., Asmussen, C., & Weatherall, C. (2017). The location choice of foreign direct investments: Empirical evidence and methodological challenges. Journal of World Business, 52, 62-87.
  42. Nowicki, M. (2006-2015). Atrakcyjność inwestycyjna województw i podregionów Polski 2014. Instytut Badań nad Gospodarką Rynkową, Gdańsk.
  43. Orłowski, W. (2010). W pogoni za straconym czasem. Wzrost gospodarczy w Europie Środkowo-Wschodniej 1950-2030. Warszawa: Polskie Wydawnictwo Ekonomiczne.
  44. Pusterla, F., & Resmini, L. (2007). Where do foreign firms locate in transition countries? An empirical investigation. The Annals of Regional Science, 41, 835-856.
  45. Regulation of Council of Ministers of 10 December 2008 regarding state aid granted to entrepre-neurs operating under a permit for running a business in Special Economic Zones, consolidat-ed text, Dz. U. 1.04.2015, item 465.
  46. Regulation of the Council of Ministers. (2014). Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 30.06.2014 on the regional aid map 2014-2020, Polish Official Journal of 2014, item 878.
  47. Report on State aid in Poland in 2015. (2016). Urząd Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, War-saw.
  48. Rószkiewicz, M. (2002). Metody ilościowe w badaniach marketingowych. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN.
  49. Seyoum, B., & Ramirez J. (2012). Foreign trade zones in the United States. A study with special emphasis on the proposal for trade agreement parity. Journal of Economic Studies, 39(1), 13-30.
  50. Singa Boyenge, J.P. (2007). ILO database on export processing zones (Revised). International Labo-ur Office, Geneva April.
  51. Sobczyk, M. (2000). Statystyka. Podstawy teoretyczne przykłady – zadania. Lublin: Wydawnictwo UMCS.
  52. Tavares-Lehmann, A.T., Coelho, A., & Lehmann, F. (2015). Taxes and Foreign Direct Investment Attraction: A Literature Review. In New Policy Challenges for European Multinationals (pp. 89-117). Published online: 10.03.2015. Retrieved from on May 28, 2018.
  53. The Economist (2015). Political priority, economic gamble, April 4th.
  54. Villaverde, J., & Maza, A. (2015). The determinants of inward foreign direct investment: Evidence from the European regions. International Business Review, 24(2), 209-223.
  55. Warr, P.G. (1989). Export Processing Zones: The Economics of Enclave Manufacturing. World Bank Research Observer 4, 1(January), 65-87.
  56. Williams, M., & Campolo, D. (2016). The top 10 site-selection errors made by manufacturers. Retrieved from e=emailCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content= on June 20, 2018.
  57. World Bank (2004). World Development Report 2005. A Better Investment Climate for Everyone, Washington.
  58. VCC (2013). Investment Incentives: The good, the bad and the ugly. Assessing the benefits and options for policy reform. Background Paper for the Eighth Columbia International Investment Conference, November 13-14, 2013, Draft as of November 8, 2013. Retrieved from on January 20, 2018.
  59. Yeaple, S.R. (2003). The complex integration strategies of multinationals and cross country dependencies in the structure of foreign direct investment. Journal of International Economics, No 60, 293-314.
  60. Yeung, Y., Lee, J., & Kee, G. (2009). China’s Special Economic Zones at 30. Eurasian Geography and Economics, 50(2), 222-240.


Download data is not yet available.