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Technology capital transfer

  • Thomas J. Holmes
  • Ellen R. McGrattan
  • Edward C. Prescott

It is widely believed that an important factor underlying the rapid growth in China is increased foreign direct investment (FDI) and the transfer of foreign technology capital, which is accumulated know-how from investment in research and development (R&D), brands, and organizations that is not specific to a plant. In this paper, we study two channels through which FDI can contribute to upgrading of the stock of technology capital: knowledge spillovers and appropriation. Knowledge spillovers lead to new ideas that do not directly compete or devalue the foreign affiliate’s stock. Appropriation, on the other hand, implies a redistribution of property rights over patents and trademarks; the gain to domestic companies comes at a loss to the multinational company (MNC). In this paper we build these sources of technology capital transfer into the framework developed by McGrattan and Prescott (2009, 2010) and introduce an endogenously-chosen intensity margin for operating technology capital in order to capture the trade-offs MNCs face when expanding their markets internationally. We show that economic outcomes differ dramatically depending on the source of greater openness and the channel with which technology capital transfer is operative.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 687.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:687
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  1. James R. Markusen, 1998. "Contracts, Intellectual Property Rights, and Multinational Investment in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 6448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2007. "Technology capital and the U.S. current account," Working Papers 646, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J, 1996. "The Theory of Endowment, Intra-Industry and Multinational Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 1341, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Lai, Edwin L. -C., 1998. "International intellectual property rights protection and the rate of product innovation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 133-153, February.
  5. Ignatius J. Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1990. "Endogenous Market Structures in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ellen McGrattan, 2009. "Transition to FDI Openness," 2009 Meeting Papers 463, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Branstetter, Lee & Fisman, Ray & Foley, C. Fritz & Saggi, Kamal, 2011. "Does intellectual property rights reform spur industrial development?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 27-36, January.
  8. Andres Rodriguez-Clare & Natalia Ramondo, 2007. "Trade, Multinational Production, and the Gains from Openness," 2007 Meeting Papers 819, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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