IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Inter-firm reverse technology transfer: the home country effect of R&D internationalization


  • Paola Criscuolo


One consequence of the internationalization of R&D may be the transfer of foreign technology from the multinational to other firms in its home country. This phenomenon, which can be termed inter-firm reverse technology transfer and which has not been directly analyzed by either the international management or foreign direct investment literature, may have significant implications for policy--particularly in Europe. This article is a first attempt in this direction. Patent citation analysis on a database of EPO patents granted to 17 European chemical and pharmaceutical multinationals over the period 1985--2005 shows that they act as a channel for the transmission of knowledge developed in the United States, to other home country firms; these results are robust to the exclusion of examiner citations. We find that this technology transfer process is explained by the degree of home country embeddedness of the multinational firm, the US subsidiaries' engagement in asset-augmenting activities, and the presence of a technology gap between the United States and the home country. These results point to an alternative understanding of foreign direct R&D investment and its implications for the home country's technological activity and general competitive performance. Copyright 2009 The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Associazione ICC. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Criscuolo, 2009. "Inter-firm reverse technology transfer: the home country effect of R&D internationalization," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(5), pages 869-899, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:18:y:2009:i:5:p:869-899

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1991. "Increasing Returns, Industrialization, and Indeterminacy of Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 617-650.
    2. Okazaki, Tetsuji & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara, 1997. "Evolution of Economic Systems: The Case of Japan," CIRJE F-Series 97-F-18, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    3. Denzau, Arthur T & North, Douglass C, 1994. "Shared Mental Models: Ideologies and Institutions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 3-31.
    4. Paul Krugman, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-667.
    5. Eric Maskin & Yingyi Qian & Chengagn Xu, 1997. "Incentives, Scale Economies and Organizational Form," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1801, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    6. Fudenberg, D. & Harris, C., 1992. "Evolutionary dynamics with aggregate shocks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 420-441, August.
    7. Aoki Masahiko, 1995. "An Evolving Diversity of Organizational Mode and Its Implications for Transitional Economies," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 330-353, December.
    8. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
    9. Masahiko Aoki, 2013. "Horizontal vs. Vertical Information Structure of the Firm," Chapters,in: Comparative Institutional Analysis, chapter 5, pages 57-58 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Itoh, Hideshi, 1987. "Information processing capacities of the firm," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 299-326, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Richard Fabling & Arthur Grimes & Lynda Sanderson, 2012. "Whatever next? Export market choices of New Zealand firms," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 91(1), pages 137-159, March.
    2. René Belderbos & Boris Lokshin & Bert Sadowski, 2015. "The returns to foreign R&D," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 46(4), pages 491-504, May.
    3. Castellani, Davide & Pieri, Fabio, 2013. "R&D offshoring and the productivity growth of European regions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1581-1594.
    4. Schubert, Torben & Baier, Elisabeth & Rammer, Christian, 2017. "Firm Capabilities, Technological Dynamism and Innovation Internationalisation – a Behavioural Approach," Papers in Innovation Studies 2017/13, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    5. Havas, Attila, 2010. "Diversity in firms’ innovation strategies and activities: Main findings of interviews and implications in the context of the Hungarian national," MPRA Paper 55852, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Alnuaimi, Tufool & Opsahl, Tore & George, Gerard, 2012. "Innovating in the periphery: The impact of local and foreign inventor mobility on the value of Indian patents," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 1534-1543.
    7. Alexander Brem & Pierre Wolfram, 2017. "Organisation of new product development in Asia and Europe: results from Western multinationals R&D sites in Germany, India, and China," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 159-190, January.
    8. Georgios Batsakis, 2016. "Host Location Knowledge Sourcing And Subsidiary Innovative Performance — Examining The Moderating Role Of Alternative Sources Of Knowledge And Ipr Distance," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 20(06), pages 1-28, August.
    9. Pietro Moncada-Paterno-Castello & Peter Voigt & Marco Vivarelli, 2011. "Evolution of Globalised business R&D: Features, drivers, impacts," JRC Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2011-02, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    10. Athreye, Suma & Batsakis, Georgios & Singh, Satwinder, 2016. "Local, global, and internal knowledge sourcing: The trilemma of foreign-based R&D subsidiaries," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 5694-5702.
    11. Driffield, Nigel & Love, James H. & Yang, Yong, 2016. "Reverse international knowledge transfer in the MNE: (Where) does affiliate performance boost parent performance?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 491-506.
    12. Hsu, Chia-Wen & Lien, Yung-Chih & Chen, Homin, 2015. "R&D internationalization and innovation performance," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 187-195.
    13. Schubert, Torben & Baier, Elisabeth & Rammer, Christian, 2016. "Technological capabilities, technological dynamism and innovation offshoring," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-044, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    14. repec:pal:jintbs:v:49:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1057_s41267-017-0101-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Suma Athreye & Georgios Batsakis & Satwinder Singh, 2013. "Subsidiary Embeddedness is a Strategic Choice: Complementarity and the factors associated with different types of embeddedness," DRUID Working Papers 13-05, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    16. Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation (EFI), Berlin (ed.), 2013. "Research, innovation and technological performance in Germany - EFI Report 2013," Research, Innovation and Technological Performance in Germany: Report, Expertenkommission Forschung und Innovation (EFI) - Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation, Berlin, volume 127, number 2013e, April.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:18:y:2009:i:5:p:869-899. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.