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Multinational Production and the Scope of Innovation

Listed author(s):
  • S. Bakhtiari
  • A. Minniti
  • A. Naghavi

This research sheds light on the role of multinational production on the type of innovation performed by firms. We construct matched firm-patent data to measure the scope of innovation, that is the extent to which the output of R&D can be spread across different product lines. We focus on two features of multinational production: (i) core knowledge is geographically more difficult to transfer abroad to foreign production sites, (ii) learning spillovers can occur from international operations. The results reveal that the second effect is more likely to dominate when a firm is active in more product lines. We argue that a more diversified portfolio of products increases a firm’s span of learning from international operations, thereby enhancing its ability to engage in more fundamental research. In contrast, firms with fewer product lines that geographically separate production from innovation focus on more specialized types of R&D.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp879.

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Date of creation: May 2013
Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp879
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  1. Ufuk Akcigit & Douglas Hanley & Nicolas Serrano-Velarde, 2013. "Back to Basics: Basic Research Spillovers, Innovation Policy and Growth," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-051, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford & Schott, Peter K., 2006. "Survival of the best fit: Exposure to low-wage countries and the (uneven) growth of U.S. manufacturing plants," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 219-237, January.
  3. Beata Javorcik & Peter Neary & Carsten Eckel and Leonardo Iacovone, 2010. "Multi-product firms at home and away: Cost- versus quality-based competence," Economics Series Working Papers 522, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Irene Brambilla, 2006. "Multinationals, Technology, and the Introduction of Varieties of Goods," NBER Working Papers 12217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Carsten Eckel & J. Peter Neary, 2006. "Multi-product firms and flexible manufacturing in the global economy," Working Papers 200608, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  8. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Naghavi, Alireza & Ottaviano, Gianmarco, 2006. "Offshoring and Product Innovation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6008, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 3993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 37-74, 03.
  12. Richard E. Baldwin & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 1998. "Multiproduct Multinationals and Reciprocal FDI Dumping," NBER Working Papers 6483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Sergey Lychagin & Joris Pinkse & Margaret E. Slade & John Van Reenen, 2016. "Spillovers in Space: Does Geography Matter?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 295-335, 06.
  15. Branstetter, Lee G., 2001. "Are knowledge spillovers international or intranational in scope?: Microeconometric evidence from the U.S. and Japan," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 53-79, February.
  16. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Scholarly Articles 3445092, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Costas Arkolakis & Natalia Ramondo & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare & Stephen Yeaple, 2013. "Innovation and Production in the Global Economy," NBER Working Papers 18972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Alireza Naghavi & Maria Comune, 2012. "The Globalisation of Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities for Europe," Review of Environment, Energy and Economics - Re3, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, May.
  19. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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