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International Technology Transfer and Domestic Innovation: Evidence from the High-Speed Rail Sector in China

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  • Yatang Lin
  • Yu Qin
  • Zhuan Zie

Abstract

How does the transfer of advanced technology spur innovation in developing countries? This paper exploits the large-scale introduction of high-speed railway (HSR) technology into China in 2004 as a natural experiment to address this question. The experiment is unique in the sense that this wave of technology transfer is large, abrupt and arguably exogenous in timing, covering a variety of technology classes and a large number of geographically-dispersed railway-related firms. With detailed information on the types of technology transferred and the identities of the receiving firms, as well as their product market specializations, we are able to depict a clear picture of how foreign technology is digested and spurs follow-up innovation in and out of directly receiving firms. Our findings suggest that technology transfer leads to significant growth in HSR-related patents in cities with direct receivers of imported technology after 2004 in a triple-difference estimation. We also observe sizable spillovers to firms that are not directly related to the railway industry. Technology similarity plays an important role in technology diffusion, but we do not observe any significant impacts of geographic proximity. Previous university research strength in relevant fields is also conducive to stronger technology spillovers.

Suggested Citation

  • Yatang Lin & Yu Qin & Zhuan Zie, 2015. "International Technology Transfer and Domestic Innovation: Evidence from the High-Speed Rail Sector in China," CEP Discussion Papers dp1393, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1393
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Draca, Mirko, 2013. "Reagan’s Innovation Dividend? Technological Impacts of the 1980s US Defense Build-Up," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 168, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
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    3. Luciano Kay & Nils Newman & Jan Youtie & Alan L. Porter & Ismael Rafols, 2014. "Patent overlay mapping: Visualizing technological distance," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 65(12), pages 2432-2443, December.
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    5. Jeffrey L. Furman & Megan MacGarvie, 2007. "Academic Science and the Birth of Industrial Research Laboratories in the U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry," NBER Chapters,in: Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Sharon Belenzon & Mark Schankerman, 2010. "Spreading the Word: Geography, Policy and Knowledge Spillovers," CEP Discussion Papers dp1005, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Galina Hale & Cheryl Long, 2011. "Are There Productivity Spillovers From Foreign Direct Investment In China?," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 135-153, May.
    8. Shawn Kantor & Alexander Whalley, 2014. "Knowledge Spillovers from Research Universities: Evidence from Endowment Value Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 171-188, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jian Gao & Bogang Jun & Alex Sandy Pentland & Tao Zhou & Cesar A. Hidalgo, 2017. "Collective Learning in China's Regional Economic Development Formations of Co-Inventors During the Dot-com Bubble in the Research Triangle Region," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1706, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Mar 2017.
    2. repec:eee:jotrge:v:72:y:2018:i:c:p:106-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jian Gao & Bogang Jun & Alex Sandy Pentland & Tao Zhou & Cesar A. Hidalgo, 2017. "Collective Learning in China's Regional Economic Development," Papers 1703.01369, arXiv.org.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    innovation; foreign technology transfer; knowledge spillover; China;

    JEL classification:

    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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