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Multinational Firms, Technology Diffusion and Trade

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  • Wilfred J. Ethier
  • James R. Markusen

Abstract

Empirical evidence indicates a close association between multinational firms and knowledge capital, a public good within the firm. We model a firm which wishes to exploit its knowledge capital abroad, but whose workers learn all the knowledge necessary for production and can defect and produce the good themselves. The home firm must then choose between costly exporting and the possible dissipation of its knowledge capital by producing abroad. The paper examines the choice between exporting, licensing, and acquiring a subsidiary in this environment. We analyze the cost and technology parameters that support the alternative modes of serving the foreign market, and we describe the international equilibrium that jointly determines the pattern of specialization and the market mode.

Suggested Citation

  • Wilfred J. Ethier & James R. Markusen, 1991. "Multinational Firms, Technology Diffusion and Trade," NBER Working Papers 3825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3825
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F00 - International Economics - - General - - - General
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies

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