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The internationalisation of R&D: sectoral and geographic patterns of cross-border investments


  • Castelli , Cristina

    () (Italian Trade Promotion Agency (ICE), Csil Milano)

  • Castellani, Davide

    (University of Perugia, Italy; CIRCLE; Sweden; IWH and LdA)


This paper presents the sectoral and geographic distribution of R&D-related activities, in comparison with manufacturing activities, by analysing data (from the fDi Markets database) on the number of cross-border greenfield investment projects. Results show that crossborder R&D investments are concentrated in fewer sectors and countries (of origin and destination) than manufacturing, and they are less sensitive to the obstacles related with the distance between home and host countries. More than the two-thirds of all cross-border investments in R&D-related activities are in ICT/Electronic and Life Sciences/Chemicals sectors, but these sectors differ in their propensity towards R&D and Design, Development and Testing activities. Almost half of the investments is due to multinationals from North America, and over one third from Western Europe, but the two areas show a different sectoral specialization. Considering the areas of destination, Asia is the largest recipient, and specializes in the ICT/Electronics and Industrial Machinery, while Western Europe ranks second and attracts relatively more research investments in Life Sciences/Chemicals, as well as in the Machinery industry

Suggested Citation

  • Castelli , Cristina & Castellani, Davide, 2013. "The internationalisation of R&D: sectoral and geographic patterns of cross-border investments," Papers in Innovation Studies 2013/9, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lucirc:2013_009

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sandro Montresor & Antonio Vezzani, 2015. "On the R&D giants’ shoulders: do FDI help to stand on them?," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(1), pages 33-60, March.
    2. Mafini Dosso & Antonio Vezzani, 2015. "Top R&D investors and international knowledge seeking: the role of emerging technologies and technological proximity," JRC Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2015-09, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    3. Guimón , José & Chaminade , Cristina & Maggi , Claudio, 2015. "Policies to attract R&D-related FDI in Chile: Aligning incentives with local linkages and absorptive capacities," Papers in Innovation Studies 2015/48, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.

    More about this item


    Internazionalization of R&D; Multinational Firms; Europe; North America; Asia;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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