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Technological Characteristics of Industries and the Competitiveness of the U.S. and its Multinational Firms

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  • Irving B. Kravis
  • Robert E. Lipsey

Abstract

The share of U.S. multinational firms in world exports of manufactures has remained almost constant at about 17 per cent for the last 20 years while that of the U.S. as a country has declined substantially. The composition of world manufactured exports shifted toward high-technology or R&D-intensive products during these years and away from low-technology products. The comparative advantage of the U.S., and even more that of U.S. multinationals, were in high-tech products throughout the period, as was that of Japan. However, the U.S. and its multinationals shifted even further toward such products during the period than did the world as a whole, and the Asian NIC's exports moved still faster in this direction. With respect to short-run fluctuations, we find that the export shares of U.S. multinationals have been less sensitive to exchange rate fluctuations than those of the U.S. And shares in high-tech exports have been less sensitive than those in low-tech exports. High R&D intensity was a factor raising the competitiveness of U.S. industries and particularly that of U.S. multinationals in those industries. High advertising intensity raised the competitiveness of U.S multinationals but not usually that of their industries. Higher growth in R&D-intensity also led to increase in multinationals' shares of world exports between 1977 and 1982.

Suggested Citation

  • Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1989. "Technological Characteristics of Industries and the Competitiveness of the U.S. and its Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 2933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2933
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Magnus Blomstrom & Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1988. "Multinational Firms and Manufactured Exports from Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 2493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Robert E. Lipsey & Irving B. Kravis, 1985. "The Competitive Position of U.S. Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 1557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Kravis, Irving B. & Lipsey, Robert E., 1982. "The location of overseas production and production for export by U.S. multinational firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3-4), pages 201-223, May.
    4. Robert E. Lipsey & Mario Schimberni & Robert V. Lindsay, 1988. "Changing Patterns of International Investment in and by the United States," NBER Chapters,in: The United States in the World Economy, pages 475-558 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Magnus Blomstrom & Robert E. Lipsey & Lennart Ohlsson, 1989. "What Do Rich Countries Trade with Each Other? R&D and the Composition of U.S. and Swedish Trade," NBER Working Papers 3140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Robert E. Lipsey, 1991. "Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S. and U.S. Trade," NBER Working Papers 3623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:ilo:ilowps:332608 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Klodt, Henning, 1993. "Rent-shifting, industrial policy and multinational enterprises," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 2033, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. J. David Richardson, 1992. ""New" Trade Theory and Policy a Decade Old: Assessment in a Pacific Context," NBER Working Papers 4042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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