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Dissipation of Knowledge and the Boundaries of the Multinational Enterprise

  • Valeria Gattai

    (Bocconi University and ISESAO)

This paper provides a theoretical formalisation of the joint-venture contract, as an alternative to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), within a Dissipation of Intangible Assets framework. In a two-period model, we discuss how the threat of knowledge spillover shapes the boundaries of a Multinational Enterprise. Similarly to the theoretical findings on the FDI-licensing trade off, we show that the integrated solution is more likely to emerge when know-how easily spills over – i.e. when firms are endowed with more Intangible Assets or they belong to high tech industries. Probit estimates, from a new firm-level dataset, show that Japanese manufacturing operations in Europe are in line with these predictions.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2005.121.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2005.121
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  1. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2002. "Power Inside the Firm and the Market: a General Equilibrium Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 3526, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2002. "International Joint Ventures and the Boundaries of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 9115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2004. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 10198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration Versus Outsourcing In Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120, February.
  12. Andrea Fosfuri & Massimo Motta & Thomas Ronde, 1998. "Foreign direct investments and spillovers through workers' mobility," Economics Working Papers 258, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  13. Mattoo, Aaditya & Olarreaga, Marcelo & Saggi, Kamal, 2001. "Mode of foreign entry, technology transfer, and foreign direct investment policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2737, The World Bank.
  14. Wilfred J. Ethier & James R. Markusen, 1991. "Multinational Firms, Technology Diffusion and Trade," NBER Working Papers 3825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. M Krishna Erramilli, 1996. "Nationality and Subsidiary Ownership Patterns in Multinational Corporations," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 27(2), pages 225-248, June.
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  18. Mansfield, Edwin & Romeo, Anthony, 1980. "Technology Transfer to Overseas Subsidiaries by U.S.-Based Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 737-50, December.
  19. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
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