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Do subsidiaries of foreign MNEs invest more in R&D than domestic firms?

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Author Info

  • Un, C. Annique
  • Cuervo-Cazurra, Alvaro

Abstract

Despite the growing involvement of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in foreign-based research and development (R&D), there has been little research comparing R&D investments of subsidiaries of foreign MNEs to domestic firms. Subsidiaries of foreign MNEs enjoy advantages that help them compete against domestic firms. However, when deciding on R&D investments, these advantages exert competing influences on their R&D investment decision. On the one hand, better access to and transfer of knowledge and technologies from the MNE and other subsidiaries and centers of excellence may encourage the subsidiary of a foreign MNE to invest less in R&D relative to a domestic firm. On the other hand, better access to sources of capital through the MNE and other subsidiaries may induce the subsidiary to invest more in R&D in comparison to domestic firms. We find that subsidiaries of foreign MNEs invest less in total R&D than domestic firms. The reason is that they invest less in external R&D than domestic firms; however, they have similar internal R&D investments compared to domestic firms. These findings support the notion that the transfer of technology and knowledge from other parts of the MNE acts as a substitute for the purchase of external R&D while internal R&D acts as a complement to the technology and knowledge transferred from other parts of the MNE.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
Issue (Month): 10 (December)
Pages: 1812-1828

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:37:y:2008:i:10:p:1812-1828

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

Related research

Keywords: R&D investment Subsidiaries of foreign firms Domestic firms Multinational firms;

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Cited by:
  1. Dachs, Bernhard & Peters, Bettina, 2013. "Innovation, employment growth, and foreign ownership of firms: A European perspective," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-019, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Sasidharan, Subash & Kathuria, Vinish, 2011. "Foreign Direct Investment and R&D: Substitutes or Complements--A Case of Indian Manufacturing after 1991 Reforms," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 1226-1239, July.
  3. Gerben Bakker, 2013. "Money for nothing: how firms have financed R&D-projects since the Industrial Revolution," Economic History Working Papers 54518, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  4. Filip De Beule & Ilke Van Beveren, 2009. "Multinational ownership and R&D intensity: The role of external knowledge sources and spillovers," LICOS Discussion Papers 24209, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  5. Suma Athreye & Georgios Batsakis & Satwinder Singh, 2013. "Subsidiary Embeddedness is a Strategic Choice: Complementarity and the factors associated with different types of embeddedness," DRUID Working Papers 13-05, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  6. Yang, Chih-Hai & Tseng, Yu-Hsuan & Chen, Chiang-Ping, 2012. "Environmental regulations, induced R&D, and productivity: Evidence from Taiwan's manufacturing industries," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 514-532.
  7. Qu, Zhe & Huang, Can & Zhang, Mingqian & Zhao, Yanyun, 2013. "R&D offshoring, technology learning and R&D efforts of host country firms in emerging economies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 502-516.

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