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Multiproduct Multinationals and the Quality of Innovation

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  • Sasan Bakhtiari

    (University of New South Wales)

  • Antonio Minniti

    (University of Bologna)

  • Alireza Naghavi

    (University of Bologna)

Abstract

This research sheds light on the role of product scope on the innovation activity of multinational multi-product firms. We use patent citation data to break down innovation into two types by measuring the degree to which innovation performed by firms is fundamental and the extent to which the output of the R&D can be spread across different product lines. We focus on two features in multinational production: (i) fundamental innovation is geographically more difficult to transfer abroad to foreign production sites, (ii) learning spillovers can occur from international operations. The results reveal that the second effect is more likely to dominate when a firm is active in more product lines. We argue that a more diversified portfolio of products increases a firm’s scope of learning from international operations, thereby enhancing its ability to engage in more fundamental research. In contrast, firms with less product lines that geographically separate production from innovation shift the innovation activities towards more specialized types of innovation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2013.69.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2013.69

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Keywords: Multinational Production; Fundamental Innovation; Specialized Innovation; Multiproduct Firms; Product Scope; Knowledge Spillovers;

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  1. Peter Neary & Carsten Eckel, 2006. "Multi-Product Firms and Flexible Manufacturing in the Global Economy," Economics Series Working Papers 292, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 37-74, 03.
  3. Beata Javorcik & Peter Neary & Carsten Eckel and Leonardo Iacovone, 2010. "Multi-product firms at home and away: Cost- versus quality-based competence," Economics Series Working Papers 522, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Brambilla, Irene, 2009. "Multinationals, technology, and the introduction of varieties of goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 89-101, September.
  5. 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.
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  7. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Alireza Naghavi & Maria Comune, 2012. "The Globalisation of Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities for Europe," Review of Environment, Energy and Economics - Re3, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, May.
  9. Baldwin, Richard & Ottaviano, Gianmarco Ireo Paolo, 1998. "Multiproduct Multinationals and Reciprocal FDI Dumping," CEPR Discussion Papers 1851, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Nicholas Bloom & Mark Schankerman & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Identifying Technology Spillovers and Product Market Rivalry," NBER Working Papers 13060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Sergey Lychagin & Joris Pinkse & Margaret E. Slade & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Spillovers in Space: Does Geography Matter?," NBER Working Papers 16188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
  14. 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.
  15. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 451-71, June.
  16. Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine, 2013. "The Case against Patents," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
  17. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Branstetter, Lee G., 2001. "Are knowledge spillovers international or intranational in scope?: Microeconometric evidence from the U.S. and Japan," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 53-79, February.
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