Date of Graduation

Winter 12-16-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Keally McBride

Second Advisor

Dana Zartner


It has been 26 years since Mongolia transitioned to democracy. I decided to evaluate the progress of Mongolia’s development since the transition to evaluate whether the country of only 3 million people with vast land and natural resources successfully implemented policies to attain growth and societal wellbeing. In order to evaluate Mongolia’s development progress, this thesis uses FDI in Mongolian development since 1990 as a case study to examine the relationship between FDI, state development strategies, and development outcomes. My research questions encompass a series of interrelated inquiries including 1) whether human development can be achieved through extraction industries 2) whether the source of FDI has a strong impact on development outcomes, and 3) whether FDI influences state-led development efforts and decision making to the extent that it threatens the development of Mongolian sovereignty.

I conclude that Mongolia is at a crossroads. Foreign direct investment in the extraction industry can either help or harm Mongolian development; the long-term results of FDI will depend upon the Mongolian government’s actions. The source of the FDI does not have a strong impact on development outcomes. There are some differences in industry conduct regarding transparency and corporate social responsibility based upon the source of funding. The main responsibility for attaining development falls to the Mongolian government. However, my research indicates that FDI could have a corrosive impact on state sovereignty if the state is weak in enforcing rule of law. Surprisingly, I find that a strong, active civil society is necessary to maintain the integrity of development strategies in the face of significant FDI.