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Intra-firm technology transfer and R&D in foreign affiliates: Substitutes or complements? Evidence from Japanese multinational firms


  • Belderbos, Rene
  • Ito, Banri
  • Wakasugi, Ryuhei


R&D in foreign affiliates and technology transferred from their parent firms are important potential drivers of productivity in host countries. In this paper we examine the simultaneous impact of local R&D and intra-firm international technology transfer on productivity growth in foreign affiliates. We estimate a dynamic productivity model on a large sample of Japanese manufacturing affiliates worldwide in 1996-1997 and 1999-2000. We find that both affiliate R&D and intra-firm technology transfer contribute to productivity growth, while technology transfer exhibits decreasing marginal returns. The two sources of technology are complements: use of one source of technology increases the marginal impact of the other. J. Japanese Int. Economies 22 (3) (2008) 310-319.

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  • Belderbos, Rene & Ito, Banri & Wakasugi, Ryuhei, 2008. "Intra-firm technology transfer and R&D in foreign affiliates: Substitutes or complements? Evidence from Japanese multinational firms," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 310-319, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jjieco:v:22:y:2008:i:3:p:310-319

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Gupeng & Zhou, Jianghua, 2016. "The effects of forward and reverse engineering on firm innovation performance in the stages of technology catch-up: An empirical study of China," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 212-222.
    2. Teixeira, Aurora A.C. & Tavares-Lehmann, Ana Teresa, 2014. "Human capital intensity in technology-based firms located in Portugal: Does foreign ownership matter?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 737-748.
    3. Marie-Ange VEGANZONES-VAROUDAKIS & Arup MITRA & Chandan SHARMA, 2012. "Are reforms productive? Explaining productivity and efficiency in the Indian manufacturing," Working Papers 201233, CERDI.
    4. Gupeng Zhang & Hongbo Duan & Jianghua Zhou, 2016. "Investigating determinants of inter-regional technology transfer in China: a network analysis with provincial patent data," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 345-364, March.
    5. Mafini Dosso & Antonio Vezzani, 2015. "Top R&D investors and international knowledge seeking: the role of emerging technologies and technological proximity," JRC Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2015-09, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes


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