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Does Foreign Direct Investment Transfer Technology Across Borders?

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  • Bruno Van Pottelsberghe De La Potterie
  • Frank Lichtenberg

Abstract

Previous studies have found that importing goods from R&D-intensive countries raises a country's productivity. In this paper, we investigate econometrically whether foreign direct investment (FDI) also transfers technology across borders. The data indicates that FDI transfers technology, but only in one direction: a country's productivity is increased if it invests in R&D-intensive foreign countries-particularly in recent years-but not if foreign R&D-intensive countries invest in it. Other findings of the paper are that the ratio of foreign-R&D benefits conveyed by outward FDI to foreign R&D benefits conveyed by imports is higher for large countries than it is for small ones, that failure to account for international R&D spillovers leads to upwardly biased estimates of the output elasticity of the domestic R&D capital stock, and that there are much larger transfers of technology from the United States to Japan than there are from Japan to the United States. © 2001 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Van Pottelsberghe De La Potterie & Frank Lichtenberg, 2001. "Does Foreign Direct Investment Transfer Technology Across Borders?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 490-497, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:83:y:2001:i:3:p:490-497
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