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Multiproduct Multinationals and the Quality of Innovation

Author

Listed:
  • Sasan Bakhtiari

    (Australian National University)

  • Antonio Minniti

    (University of Bologna)

  • Alireza Naghavi

    (University of Bologna)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sasan Bakhtiari & Antonio Minniti & Alireza Naghavi, 2013. "Multiproduct Multinationals and the Quality of Innovation," Working Papers 2013.69, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2013.69
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Criscuolo, Chiara & Haskel, Jonathan E. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2010. "Global engagement and the innovation activities of firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 191-202, March.
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    4. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-598.
    5. Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine, 2013. "The Case against Patents," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
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    11. 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, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Multinational Production; Fundamental Innovation; Specialized Innovation; Multiproduct Firms; Product Scope; Knowledge Spillovers;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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