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Multinational Knowledge Spillovers with Centralized versus Decentralized R&D: A Game Theoretic Approach

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  • Sanna-Randaccio, Francesca
  • Veugelers, Reinhilde

Abstract

This Paper provides a theoretical model on the trade-offs an MNE face when assigning subsidiaries an active role in innovation and organizing its R&D decentralized versus centralized. R&D decentralization avoids having to adapt centrally developed innovations to local markets, being able to use the specific know-how of the subsidiary. In addition R&D subsidiaries can be used to source locally available external know-how. But the MNE has to organize the transfer of local know-how internally so as to be able to benefit from this location specific know-how throughout the organization. At the same time, decentralization of R&D to the subsidiary level intensifies the challenge of effectively appropriating core technology know-how, preventing the spilling over of valuable know-how to competitors, located in the foreign markets. While R&D decentralization has repercussions on both intra-company technology transfers as well as inter-company technology spillovers, it emerges as a possible equilibrium outcome from the resulting strategic interaction between the foreign subsidiary and local competition. The proposed model treats both internal and external spillovers in a game-theoretic context explicitly recognizing that absorptive capacity is required to be able to use external spillovers. The analysis suggests that a strong local know-how base is not a univocally positive factor for locating R&D abroad and indicates the critical complementary role of managing internal and external spillovers to capitalize on the benefits from R&D decentralization. It also shows that the intensity of product market competition in the host country is important, especially in determining the outgoing spillover costs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3151.

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Date of creation: Jan 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3151

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Keywords: mnes; r&d decentralization; technological spillovers;

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References

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  1. Cantwell, John, 1995. "The Globalisation of Technology: What Remains of the Product Cycle Model?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 155-74, February.
  2. Pari Patel & Keith Pavitt, 1991. "Large Firms in the Production of the World’s Technology: An Important Case of “Non-Globalisation”," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 22(1), pages 1-21, March.
  3. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 3993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kogut, Bruce & Chang, Sea Jin, 1991. "Technological Capabilities and Japanese Foreign Direct Investment in the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 401-13, August.
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  6. John H Dunning, 1988. "The Eclectic Paradigm of International Production: A Restatement and Some Possible Extensions," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 19(1), pages 1-31, March.
  7. Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1996. "R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 630-40, June.
  8. Gersbach, Hans & Schmutzler, Armin, 1999. "External spillovers, internal spillovers and the geography of production and innovation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 679-696, November.
  9. Kamien, Morton I. & Zang, Israel, 2000. "Meet me halfway: research joint ventures and absorptive capacity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(7), pages 995-1012, October.
  10. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  11. Wang, Jian-Ye & Blomstrom, Magnus, 1992. "Foreign investment and technology transfer : A simple model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 137-155, January.
  12. Blomström, Magnus & Kokko, Ari, 1996. "Multinational Corporations and Spillovers," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 99, Stockholm School of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Søren Bo Nielsen & Pascalis Raimondos-Møller & Guttorm Schjelderup, 2005. "Centralized vs. De-centralized Multinationals and Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1586, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Nielsen, Søren Bo & Raimondos-Møller, Pascalis & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2007. "Taxes and Decision Rights in Multinationals," Discussion Papers 2007/11, Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics.
  3. René Belderbos, 2006. "R&D Activities in East Asia by Japanese, European, and US Multinationals," Microeconomics Working Papers 21887, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  4. René Belderbos & Elissavet Lykogianni & Reinhilde Veugelers, 2008. "Strategic R&D Location by Multinational Firms: Spillovers, Technology Sourcing, and Competition," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(3), pages 759-779, 09.

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