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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. 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.
  2. Ellen R McGrattan & Edward C Prescott, 2008. "Technology Capital and the U.S. Current Account," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001827, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2007. "Openness, technology capital, and development," Working Papers 651, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Ellen R. McGrattan, 2009. "Transition to FDI openness," Working Papers 671, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Natalia Ramondo & Andr�s Rodr�guez-Clare, 2013. "Trade, Multinational Production, and the Gains from Openness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(2), pages 273 - 322.
  7. Markusen, James R., 2001. "Contracts, intellectual property rights, and multinational investment in developing countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 189-204, February.
  8. Ignatius J. Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1990. "Endogenous Market Structures in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
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