Technology and the generation of international knowledge spillovers: An application to Spanish manufacturing firms
Technology is among firms ownership advantages explaining their internationalisation as, now for decades, the eclectic approach has highlighted. The debate about the positive versus negative effects that foreign capital generates in the host economy has gained a new relevance today insofar as, on the one hand, the concept of systems of innovation allows us to rethink the interaction with the domestic/recipient economies and, on the other, the increasing internationalisation of the technological activities of multinational companies (MNCs) introduces new forms of that interaction. Therefore, the possibility of generation of external effects by MNCs today demands a new reformulation of the problem. In this vein, one of the strengthening aspects commonly underlined is that foreign knowledge, not completely appropriable by the foreign firms, may spill over into domestic firms. However, since the findings of the empirical evidence are not fully confirmatory of the hypothesis, and taking into account the new conditions, this essay attempts to offer new light with research about the Spanish manufacturing firms. Two main issues are focused on this analysis. First, the importance of dynamics in the assessment of technological spillovers motivated by foreign direct investment (FDI), which is possible thanks to the availability of a panel data for manufacturing firms in Spain in the period 1991-1999. Second, the importance that technology may have for the generation of spillovers and to what extent the Pavitt taxonomy of industries is still useful for in depth analysis of such a learning process.
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