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Are Foreign Firms More Productive and Export- and Technology-intensive than Local Firms in Kenyan Manufacturing?


  • Rajah Rasiah
  • Geoffrey Gachino


This paper uses the technological capabilities framework for examining differences in technological intensities and economic performance between foreign and local food and beverage, and textile and garment firms and metal engineering firms in Kenya. Foreign firms had statistically significant higher labour productivity means than local firms in textile and garment manufacturing. Foreign firms were also more export- and technology-intensive than local firms in textile and garment (process technology and R&D) and metal engineering (HR). Foreign firms had higher and statistically significant skills and overall technology (TI) means than local firms in food and beverages. The econometric exercise showed that foreign ownership had a statistically significant and positive relationship with overall technological and HR intensities. In labour productivity, the coefficient of TI was higher in the foreign firms' sample than in the local firms' sample. Local firms had higher value added in domestic than export markets. Export intensity had a positive relationship in the process technology regressions, but an inverse relationship in the HR regressions in the foreign firms' sample. Overall, the statistically significant results suggest that foreign firms' technology, productivity and export intensity levels in economies with weak institutions tend to be superior to local firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Rajah Rasiah & Geoffrey Gachino, 2005. "Are Foreign Firms More Productive and Export- and Technology-intensive than Local Firms in Kenyan Manufacturing?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 211-227.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:33:y:2005:i:2:p:211-227 DOI: 10.1080/13600810500137855

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aitken, Brian & Hanson, Gordon H. & Harrison, Ann E., 1997. "Spillovers, foreign investment, and export behavior," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1-2), pages 103-132, August.
    2. Ann E. Harrison & Brian J. Aitken, 1999. "Do Domestic Firms Benefit from Direct Foreign Investment? Evidence from Venezuela," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 605-618, June.
    3. Caves, Richard E, 1974. "Multinational Firms, Competition, and Productivity in Host-Country Markets," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 41(162), pages 176-193, May.
    4. Dosi, Giovanni, 1993. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 102-103, April.
    5. Blomstrom, Magnus & Persson, Hakan, 1983. "Foreign investment and spillover efficiency in an underdeveloped economy: Evidence from the Mexican manufacturing industry," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 493-501, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Figueiredo, Paulo N., 2008. "Industrial Policy Changes and Firm-Level Technological Capability Development: Evidence from Northern Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 55-88, January.
    2. Badi Baltagi & Peter Egger & Michaela Kesina, 2015. "Sources of productivity spillovers: panel data evidence from China," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 389-402, June.
    3. Rahmah Ismail & Aliya Rosa & Noorasiah Sulaiman, 2012. "Globalisation and Labour Productivity in the Malaysian Manufacturing Sector," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 2, pages 76-86, May.
    4. Badi H. Baltagi & Peter H. Egger & Michaela Kesina, 2016. "Firm‐Level Productivity Spillovers in China's Chemical Industry: A Spatial Hausman‐Taylor Approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(1), pages 214-248, January.
    5. Keshari, Pradeep Kumar, 2013. "Comparative performance of foreign affiliates and domestic firms in the Indian machinery industry," MPRA Paper 33076, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 20 Apr 2013.
    6. Gachino, Geoffrey, 2007. "Foreign direct investment and firm level productivity - A panel data analysis," MERIT Working Papers 016, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    7. repec:oup:jafrec:v:26:y:2017:i:1:p:24-51. is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Peerally, Jahan Ara & Cantwell, John A, 2012. "Changes in Trade Policies and the Heterogeneity of Domestic and Multinational Firms’ Strategic Response: The Effects on Firm-Level Capabilities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 469-485.
    9. Ahmed Fayez Abdelgouad & Christian Pfeifer & John P Weche Gelübcke, 2015. "Ownership structure and firm performance in the Egyptian manufacturing sector," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(4), pages 2197-2212.
    10. Gachino, Geoffrey, 2006. "Foreign Direct Investment, Firm-Level Capabilities and Human Capital Development: Evidence from Kenyan Manufacturing Industry," MERIT Working Papers 014, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    11. Keshari, Pradeep Kumar, 2012. "FDI and firm level export competitiveness in the Indian machinery industry," MPRA Paper 47069, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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