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Productivity Gaps, Inward Investments and Productivity of European firms


  • Davide Castellani

    (University of Urbino)

  • Antonello Zanfei

    (University of Urbino)


Using a balanced panel of firm-level data on the manufacturing industry in France, Italy and Spain over the 1993-1997 period, this paper examines the impact of foreign presence on the productivity of domestic enterprises. We innovate on existing literature by using firm-level data comparable across countries. A generalisation of the results obtained for individual countries is attempted by introducing two key variables in the analysis of the impact of inward investments on domestic performances: productivity gaps between foreign and domestic firms, and productivity levels of MNEs. It is shown that it is the combination of high gaps and high levels of foreign productivity that has the most positive effects. This leads to a critical consideration of both the “catching up” hypothesis, which identifies a positive relation between the size of technological gaps and growth opportunities induced by foreign investments; and the “technological accumulation” hypothesis, which stresses the role of domestic absorptive capacity and of coherence between foreign and domestic technology as determinants of virtuous effects of inward investments. Based on these results, policy implications are drawn, concerning the selection and promotion of inward investments in advanced countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Castellani & Antonello Zanfei, 2001. "Productivity Gaps, Inward Investments and Productivity of European firms," International Trade 0107001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:0107001
    Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP; pages: 18

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Fontoura, Maria Paula & Flôres Junior, Renato Galvão & Santos, Rogério Guerra, 2000. "Foreign direct investment spillovers: what can we learn from portuguese data?," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 366, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
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    11. Cesare Imbriani & Filippo Reganati, 1999. "Productivity spillovers and regional differences: some evidence on the italian manufacturing sector," CELPE Discussion Papers 48, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
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    Cited by:

    1. Javorcik, Beata Smarzynska & Spatareanu, Mariana, 2008. "To share or not to share: Does local participation matter for spillovers from foreign direct investment?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 194-217, February.
    2. Daniel Chudnovsky & Andres Lopez & Gaston Rossi, 2008. "Foreign Direct Investment Spillovers and the Absorptive Capabilities of Domestic Firms in the Argentine Manufacturing Sector (1992-2001)," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(5), pages 645-677.
    3. Jordaan, Jacob A., 2008. "Intra- and Inter-industry Externalities from Foreign Direct Investment in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector: New Evidence from Mexican Regions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 2838-2854, December.
    4. Javorcik, Beata S. & Saggi, Kamal & Spatareanu, Mariana, 2004. "Does it matter where you come from? vertical spillovers from foreign direct investment and the nationality of investors," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3449, The World Bank.
    5. Jordaan, Jacob A., 2005. "Determinants of FDI-induced externalities: New empirical evidence for Mexican manufacturing industries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 2103-2118, December.

    More about this item


    Multinationals; Technology Gap; Productivity;

    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

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