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Contracts, intellectual property rights, and multinational investment in developing countries

  • Markusen, James R.

The institution and enforcement of property rights and contracts have been an important policy issue for the developing countries, the transition economies, and the developed countries in the 1990s. This has led to the development of a literature on technology transfer and how property rights might affect such transfers and host-country welfare. Much of this literature is non-strategic, with large numbers of northern' innovative firms and southern' imitators, and focusses on endogenous R&D and imitation levels. This paper takes a different and complementary approach, developing a strategic model in which local managers learn the multinational's technology and can defect to start a rival firm. If contract enforcement leads the MNE to shift from exporting to producing inside the host country, both the host country and the MNE are better off. If the MNE had established a subsidiary prior to the establishment of enforcement, the host country is indifferent or worse off by enforcement. In the latter case, rents are transferred from the local manager to the MNE.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 53 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 189-204

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:53:y:2001:i:1:p:189-204
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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  1. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Quality Ladders and Product Cycles," NBER Working Papers 3201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lai, Edwin L. -C., 1998. "International intellectual property rights protection and the rate of product innovation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 133-153, February.
  3. Glass, Amy Jocelyn & Saggi, Kamal, 2002. "Intellectual property rights and foreign direct investment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 387-410, March.
  4. Diwan, Ishac & Rodrik, Dani, 1989. "Patents, appropriate technology, and North-South trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 251, The World Bank.
  5. M. Scott Taylor, 1993. "TRIPS, Trade, and Technology Transfer," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(3), pages 625-37, August.
  6. Blomstrom, Magnus & Kokko, Ari, 1998. " Multinational Corporations and Spillovers," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 247-77, July.
  7. Ethier, Wilfred J. & Markusen, James R., 1996. "Multinational firms, technology diffusion and trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1-2), pages 1-28, August.
  8. Helpman, E., 1992. "Innovation, Imitation and intellectual Property Rights," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1597, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Fosfuri, Andrea & Motta, Massimo & Ronde, Thomas, 2001. "Foreign direct investment and spillovers through workers' mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 205-222, February.
  10. James R. Markusen & Anthony J. Venables, 1995. "Multinational Firms and The New Trade Theory," NBER Working Papers 5036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. James R. Markusen, 1998. "Contracts, Intellectual Property Rights, and Multinational Investment in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 6448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
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