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Foreign Ownership and Productivity: New Evidence from the Service Sector and the R&D Lab

  • Rachel Griffith
  • Stephen Redding
  • Helen Simpson

This paper examines the relationship between foreign ownership and productivity, paying particular attention to two issues neglected in the existing literature – the role of multinationals in service sectors and the importance of R&D activity conducted by foreign multinationals. We review existing theoretical and empirical work, which largely focuses on manufacturing, before presenting new evidence using establishment-level data on production, service and R&D activity for the United Kingdom. We find that multinationals play an important role in service sectors and that entry of foreign multinationals by takeover is more prevalent than greenfield investment. We find that British multinationals have lower levels of labour productivity than foreign multinationals, but the difference is less stark in the service sector than in the production sector, and that British multinationals have lower levels of investment and intermediate use per employee. We also find that foreign-owned multinationals conduct a substantial amount of UK R&D. We discuss the implications of these and other findings for the policy debate on incentives to influence multinational firms’ location choices.

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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 3699.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:3699
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  1. James R. Markusen & Anthony J. Venables, 1997. "Foreign Direct Investment as a Catalyst for Industrial Development," NBER Working Papers 6241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James R. Markusen & Anthony J. Venables, 1996. "The Theory of Endowment, Intra-Industry, and Multinational Trade," NBER Working Papers 5529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rachel Griffith & Stephen Redding & John Van Reenen, 2003. "R&D and Absorptive Capacity: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(1), pages 99-118, 03.
  4. Gorg, Holger & Strobl, Eric, 2001. "Multinational Companies and Productivity Spillovers: A Meta-analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(475), pages F723-39, November.
  5. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 451-71, June.
  6. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 1990. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," NBER Working Papers 3223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  8. Holger Görg & David Greenaway, 2004. "Much Ado about Nothing? Do Domestic Firms Really Benefit from Foreign Direct Investment?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 171-197.
  9. Cameron, G., 1998. "Catch-Up and Leapfrog Between The USA and Japan," Economics Papers 148, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  10. Sourafel Girma, 2005. "Absorptive Capacity and Productivity Spillovers from FDI: A Threshold Regression Analysis," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(3), pages 281-306, 06.
  11. Markusen, James R., 1984. "Multinationals, multi-plant economies, and the gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 205-226, May.
  12. Griffith, Rachel & Redding, Stephen J. & Simpson, Helen, 2002. "Productivity Convergence and Foreign Ownership at the Establishment Level," CEPR Discussion Papers 3765, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Baumol, William J & Wolff, Edward N, 1984. "On Interindustry Differences in Absolute Productivity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1017-34, December.
  14. Richard Disney & Jonathan Haskel & Ylva Heden, 2003. "Restructuring and productivity growth in uk manufacturing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 666-694, 07.
  15. Nigel Driffield & Max Munday & Annette Roberts, 2002. "Foreign Direct Investment, Transactions Linkages, and the Performance of the Domestic Sector," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 335-351.
  16. Nickell, Stephen J, 1996. "Competition and Corporate Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 724-46, August.
  17. Beata K. Smarzynska, 2003. "Does Foreign Direct Investment Increase the Productivity of Domestic Firms? In Search of Spillovers through Backward Linkages," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 548, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  18. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1998. "International Knowledge Flows: Evidence from Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 6507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Stephen Nickell & Stephen Redding & Joanna Swaffield, 2008. "The Uneven Pace of Deindustrialisation in the OECD," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(9), pages 1154-1184, 09.
  20. Eduardo Borensztein & Jose De Gregorio & Jong-Wha Lee, 1995. "How Does Foreign Direct Investment Affect Economic Growth?," NBER Working Papers 5057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Rachel Griffith & Stephen Redding & John Van Reenen, 2000. "Mapping the Two Faces of R&D: Productivity Growth in a Panel of OECD Industries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0458, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  23. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  24. Davies, Stephen W & Lyons, Bruce R, 1991. "Characterising Relative Performance: The Productivity Advantage of Foreign Owned Firms in the UK," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(4), pages 584-95, October.
  25. James R. Markusen & Anthony J. Venables, 1995. "Multinational Firms and The New Trade Theory," NBER Working Papers 5036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Serapio Jr., Manuel G. & Dalton, Donald H., 1999. "Globalization of industrial R&D: an examination of foreign direct investments in R&D in the United States," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2-3), pages 303-316, March.
  27. Volker Nocke & Stephen Yeaple, 2004. "Mergers and the Composition of International Commerce," NBER Working Papers 10405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Richard Harris & Catherine Robinson, 2003. "Foreign Ownership and Productivity in the United Kingdom Estimates for U.K. Manufacturing Using the ARD," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 207-223, May.
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  35. 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 176-93, May.
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