IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Royalties vs. fees: How do firms pay for foreign technology?


  • Sharmila Vishwasrao

    () (Department of Economics, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University)


The theoretical determinants of technology licensing contracts have been extensively studied but empirical evidence is scarce. We assemble a data set of all the foreign technology licensing agreements entered into by manufacturing firms in India between 1989 and 1993. Industry, firm, and contract characteristics are used to explain differences between the forms of payment in licensing contracts. Our findings support theoretical arguments; licensing contracts are more likely to use royalties when sales are relatively high, while increased volatility of sales and greater profitability favor fixed fee contracts. We also find that firms are more likely to use output based payments to control the sale and diffusion of R&D or brand intensive know-how to unaffiliated firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Sharmila Vishwasrao, 2004. "Royalties vs. fees: How do firms pay for foreign technology?," Working Papers 04023, Department of Economics, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University, revised Sep 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:fal:wpaper:04023

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Revised version, 2006
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ethier, Wilfred J. & Markusen, James R., 1996. "Multinational firms, technology diffusion and trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1-2), pages 1-28, August.
    2. Horstmann, Ignatius J & Markusen, James R, 1987. "Strategic Investments and the Development of Multinationals," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 109-121, February.
    3. Ramachandran, Vijaya, 1993. "Technology Transfer, Firm Ownership, and Investment in Human Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(4), pages 664-670, November.
    4. Vishwasrao, Sharmila, 1994. "Intellectual property rights and the mode of technology transfer," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 381-402, August.
    5. Rockett, Katharine, 1990. "The quality of licensed technology," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 559-574, December.
    6. Nancy T. Gallini & Ralph A. Winter, 1985. "Licensing in the Theory of Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 237-252, Summer.
    7. Gallini, Nancy T, 1984. "Deterrence by Market Sharing: A Strategic Incentive for Licensing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 931-941, December.
    8. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1985. "On the Licensing of Innovations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(4), pages 504-520, Winter.
    9. Magnus Blomström & Ari Kokko & Mario Zejan, 1994. "Host country competition, labor skills, and technology transfer by multinationals," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 130(3), pages 521-533, September.
    10. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1986. "How to License Intangible Property," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(3), pages 567-589.
    11. Anand, Bharat N & Khanna, Tarun, 2000. "The Structure of Licensing Contracts," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 103-135, March.
    12. Nancy T. Gallini & Brian D. Wright, 1990. "Technology Transfer under Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 147-160, Spring.
    13. Beggs, A. W., 1992. "The licensing of patents under asymmetric information," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 171-191, June.
    14. Bousquet, Alain & Cremer, Helmuth & Ivaldi, Marc & Wolkowicz, Michel, 1998. "Risk sharing in licensing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 535-554, September.
    15. van Ophem, Hans & Schram, Arthur, 1997. "Sequential and Multinomial Logit: A Nested Model," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 131-152.
    16. Caves, Richard E & Crookell, Harold & Killing, J Peter, 1983. "The Imperfect Market for Technology Licenses," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 45(3), pages 249-267, August.
    17. Preet S Aulakh & S Tamer Cavusgil & M B Sarkar, 1998. "Compensation in International Licensing Agreements," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 29(2), pages 409-419, June.
    18. Sang-Seung Yi, 1998. "Whom to license patented technology," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 189-195.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Technology transfer; licensing contracts;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fal:wpaper:04023. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Vadym Volosovych). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.