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Strategies Pursued by Swiss Firms in Investing in R&D at Foreign Locations. An Empirical Analysis Based on Firm-level Data


  • Heinz Hollenstein


The aim of this paper is twofold: Firstly, we try to identify and characterise different types of strategies firms pursue in performing foreign R&D. Secondly, it is analysed whether the types of R&D strategies we identified in the first part differ in terms of their impact on firm productivity. In order to identify foreign R&D strategies we perform, in a first step, a non-hierarchical cluster analysis of data on the firms' motives for investing abroad in R&D. In a second step, we characterise these clusters by use of a large number of variables that, according to the well-known OLI paradigm, determine a firm's FDI in distribution, manufacturing and R&D. In this way, we can check whether the clusters identified by applying a (purely) statistical classification procedure effectively may be interpreted as "types of foreign R&D strategies". We end up with four types of strategies, which significantly differ in terms of characteristics that are important according to the OLI approach. In the second part we estimate a production function where the standard factor inputs are complemented by domestic R&D and strategy-specific foreign R&D. It turns out that only one of the four strategies exerts a positive influence on firm productivity. However, it cannot be excluded that some of the other strategies have, in the longer run, a positive productivity effect as well. The paper also finds that foreign and domestic R&D, on balance, are complements.

Suggested Citation

  • Heinz Hollenstein, 2006. "Strategies Pursued by Swiss Firms in Investing in R&D at Foreign Locations. An Empirical Analysis Based on Firm-level Data," KOF Working papers 06-154, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:06-154

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    Cited by:

    1. Michel, Julie, 2007. "The effects of FDI in R&D on home countries, the case of Switzerland," MPRA Paper 6400, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Internationalisation of R&D; Outward FDI in R&D; Motives for foreign R&D; Types of foreign R&D strategies; Foreign R&D and productivity; Substitution vs. complementarity of foreign and domestic R&D;

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