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Overseas R&D by Multinationals in foreign Centers of Excellence


  • Fors, Gunnar

    (The Industrial Institute for Economics and Social Research)

  • Zejan, Mario

    (Department of Economics)


This paper examines the determinants of overseas R&D by Swedish multinationals. Our empirical results indicate that the location of R&D abroad to a large extent is motivated by the need to adapt products and processes to conditions in the foreign markets where the firms operate. However, we also find that the MNEs tend to locate their R&D in host countries which are relatively specialized technologically in the firms' own areas. This finding may suggest that one additional motive to locating R&D abroad is to gain access to knowledge in foreign "centers of excellence" and benefit from localized spillovers.

Suggested Citation

  • Fors, Gunnar & Zejan, Mario, 1996. "Overseas R&D by Multinationals in foreign Centers of Excellence," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 111, Stockholm School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0111

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Head, Keith & Ries, John & Swenson, Deborah, 1995. "Agglomeration benefits and location choice: Evidence from Japanese manufacturing investments in the United States," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 223-247, May.
    2. Jaffe, Adam B, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits, and Market Value," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 984-1001, December.
    3. Hakanson, Lars & Nobel, Robert, 1993. "Foreign research and development in Swedish multinationals," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(5-6), pages 373-396, November.
    4. Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1996. "R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 630-640, June.
    5. Fors, Gunnar & Svensson, Roger, 1994. "R&D in Swedish Multinational Corporations," Working Paper Series 406, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    6. Hirschey, Robert C & Caves, Richard E, 1981. "Research and Transfer of Technology by Multinational Enterprises," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 43(2), pages 115-130, May.
    7. Lall, Sanjaya, 1979. "The International Allocation of Research Activity by US Multinationals," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 41(4), pages 313-331, November.
    8. Zejan, Mario C, 1990. " R&D Activities in Affiliates of Swedish Multinational Enterprises," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(3), pages 487-500.
    9. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    10. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-596, September.
    11. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "The Search for R&D Spillovers," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 251-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3, Specia), pages 783-832.
    13. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Liu, Meng-chun & Chen, Shin-Horng, 2012. "MNCs’ offshore R&D networks in host country's regional innovation system: The case of Taiwan-based firms in China," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1107-1120.
    2. Globerman, Steven & Kokko, Ari & Sjöholm, Fredrik, 1996. "Technology Sourcing in Swedish MNEs and SMEs: Evidence from Patent Data," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 125, Stockholm School of Economics.

    More about this item


    Overseas R&D; technology sourcing; multinationals;

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business


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