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Firms' Technological Trajectories and the Creation of Foreign Subsidiaries


  • Davide Castellani


Multinational firms are traditionally considered as firms possessing some technological lead and which are exploiting this proprietary advantage in international markets, but a growing literature has been arguing that multinational firms set up foreign subsidiaries not only as a means to exploit their own technology but also to enrich it. This paper provides some empirical evidence for this. The aim of the paper is to assess the effects of the creation of foreign subsidiaries on firms' technological trajectories.The idea is that by setting up subsidiaries in foreign countries, multinational firms can achieve some form of reverse technology transfer that can be expected to affect their technological trajectories.The empirical investigation uses data from 1992 to 1996 for a sample of 2185 Italian manufacturing firms. Results support the view that the creation of manufacturing subsidiaries has a positive impact on firms' productivity trajectories and this positive impact is greater when subsidiaries are created in regions where knowledge spillovers are expected to be relatively higher, such as the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Castellani, 2002. "Firms' Technological Trajectories and the Creation of Foreign Subsidiaries," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 359-371.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:16:y:2002:i:3:p:359-371
    DOI: 10.1080/02692170210136172

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Castellani, 2002. "Export behavior and productivity growth: Evidence from Italian manufacturing firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 138(4), pages 605-628, December.
    2. Valeria Gattai & Giorgia Sali, 2016. "FDI and heterogeneous performance of European enterprises," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(1), pages 25-65, March.
    3. Valeria Gattai, 2015. "Internationalisation and performance at the firm-level: what we learn from Italy," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(4), pages 475-509, December.
    4. Giorgio Barba Navaretti & Davide Castellani, 2003. "Investments Abroad and Performance at Home Evidence from Italian Multinationals," Development Working Papers 180, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    5. Perri, Alessandra & Andersson, Ulf & Nell, Phillip C. & Santangelo, Grazia D., 2013. "Balancing the trade-off between learning prospects and spillover risks: MNC subsidiaries’ vertical linkage patterns in developed countries," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 503-514.
    6. Valeria, Gattai & Rajssa, Mechelli & Piergiovanna, Natale, 2016. "FDI and Heterogeneous Firms: Evidence from BRIC Countries," Working Papers 322, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 18 Jan 2016.
    7. Castellani, Davide & Mariotti, Ilaria & Piscitello, Lucia, 2008. "The impact of outward investments on parent company's employment and skill composition: Evidence from the Italian case," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 81-94, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business


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