Burt Hicks, a concurrent degree student at the Clinton School of Public Service and the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law, spent the fall semester in Mongolia conducting an independent study under the supervision of Professor John DiPippa, Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at Bowen.
Hicks researched the Law on the Regulation of Foreign Investment in Entities Operating in Strategic Sectors enacted by the Mongolian Parliament in May 2012. He then analyzed the law, compared the law to foreign investment policies in other resource-rich countries (two developing, two developed), reviewed the lawâ€™s effect on foreign direct investment, and finally provided policy recommendations for how to make the law more effective.
May 17, the Mongolian Parliament enacted the Law of Mongolia on the Regulation of Foreign Investment in Business Entities Operating in Sectors of Strategic Importance. Foreign direct investment is a driving force of globalization and is very important to both developed and developing countries. Hicksâ€™ researched showed that developing countries with open foreign investment policies have a higher growth rate than those that do not, with positive consequences for social and economic development.
â€śBurtâ€™s independent study is a prime example of how valuable the program can be to our students, and I hope we see many similar projects in the future,â€ť DiPippa said. â€śThe JD/MPS concurrent degree program at Bowen and the Clinton School is the only degree of its kind in the country.
Hicks, who also completed his Clinton School Capstone project in Mongolia, said his independent study combined both portions of his concurrent degree program.
â€śResearching and writing about Mongoliaâ€™s new Strategic Foreign Investment Law gave me an opportunity to utilize skills gained from both my MPS and JD degrees, as I was able to provide a set of policy recommendations that can make the law more effective for Mongolia, which in turn could lead to improved economic development for the country,â€ť Hicks said.
â€śMy hope is that the Mongolian Parliament strongly considers amending the law in the coming months. By considering and acting upon the policy recommendations from my paper, Mongolia can maintain its national security and ensure that its valuable natural resources are not controlled by state-owned companies, while at the same time fostering an environment conducive to the foreign investment that is so desperately needed for the countryâ€™s continued developmentâ€ť