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Intellectual Property Rights Protection and the Location of Research and Development Activities by Multinational Firms


  • Rene Belderbos
  • Kyoji Fukao
  • Hyeog Ug Kwon


We develop a model of the location of global R&D investments by multinational firms, where research investments increase the number of varieties of goods sold globally by the firm, and development activities reduce the cost of producing existing varieties in specific countries. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection in a country enhances the efficiency of the firms' local research as well as the profitability local development efforts. We test predictions of the model on survey data on foreign and domestic R&D for 605 Japanese multinational firms with manufacturing activities in 42 foreign countries in 1996. We find the strength of IPR protection to have a positive impact both on development expenditures and research expenditures in a country, while both research and development expenditures are also sensitive to local wage costs. Research expenditures depend positively on technological opportunities in the industry and country, while development expenditures are positively affected by potential local demand for the firm's products.

Suggested Citation

  • Rene Belderbos & Kyoji Fukao & Hyeog Ug Kwon, 2006. "Intellectual Property Rights Protection and the Location of Research and Development Activities by Multinational Firms," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d06-167, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hst:hstdps:d06-167

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James R. Hines, Jr., 1994. "No Place Like Home: Tax Incentives and the Location of R&D by American Multinationals," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 8, pages 65-104 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Braga, Helson & Willmore, Larry, 1991. "Technological Imports and Technological Effort: An Analysis of Their Determinants in Brazilian Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 421-432, June.
    3. Kumar, Nagesh, 1996. "Intellectual property protection, market orientation and location of overseas R&D activities by multinational enterprises," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 673-688, April.
    4. Kumar, Nagesh & Saqib, Mohammed, 1996. "Firm size, opportunities for adaptation and in-house R & D activity in developing countries: the case of Indian manufacturing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 713-722, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shimizutani, Satoshi & Todo, Yasuyuki, 2008. "What determines overseas R&D activities? The case of Japanese multinational firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 530-544, April.
    2. René Belderbos, 2006. "R&D Activities in East Asia by Japanese, European, and US Multinationals," Microeconomics Working Papers 21887, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    3. Martínez-Noya, Andrea & García-Canal, Esteban, 2011. "Technological capabilities and the decision to outsource/outsource offshore R&D services," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 264-277, June.
    4. de Faria, Pedro & Sofka, Wolfgang, 2010. "Knowledge protection strategies of multinational firms--A cross-country comparison," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 956-968, September.
    5. SUZUKI Shinya & Rene BELDERBOS & KWON Hyeog Ug & FUKAO Kyoji, 2012. "The Impact of Host Countries' University Research and University-Industry Collaboration on the Location of Research and Development: Evidence from Japanese multinational firms," Discussion papers 12080, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

    More about this item


    R&D; multinational firms; Foreign Direct Investment;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • 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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