This study uses newly collected data on 124 countries to examine the effects of investment promotion on inflows of US foreign direct investment (FDI). We test whether sectors explicitly targeted by investment promotion agencies in their efforts to attract FDI receive more investment in the post-targeting period, relative to the pre-targeting period and non-targeted sectors. The results of our analysis are consistent with investment promotion leading to higher FDI flows to countries in which red tape and information asymmetries are likely to be severe. The data suggest that investment promotion works in developing countries but not in industrialised economies.