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Characteristics of Foreign R&D Strategies of Swiss Firms: Implications for Policy

Author

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  • Heinz Hollenstein
  • Benjamin Jung

Abstract

The aim of the paper is, firstly, to identify a number of strategies Swiss firms pursue by performing foreign R&D, expecting that firms, in many instances, are driven by a combination of several motives (mixed strategies). Secondly, we ask whether foreign and domestic R&D are substitutes or complements. Thirdly, we draw some policy conclusions based on results for direct and indirect home-country effects of foreign R&D. By applying cluster analysis, we identified four specific patterns of motives of foreign R&D. In a second step, we investigated whether these clusters effectively may be interpreted as specific types of R&D strategies. To this end, the clusters were characterised in terms of a large number of variables, which, according to the OLI paradigm of FDI, determine foreign R&D. We found that the patterns of the four clusters systematically differ with respect to these theory-related variables. Some clusters represent, in terms of motives, broad-based mixed strategies, whereas others are strongly focused. It turns out that foreign R&D strategies that primarily aim at exploiting capabilities of the domestic headquarters dominate, whereas cost-reducing strategies are of very minor importance. In case of the other two strategies knowledge sourcing is a constituent element, in the first one, knowledge sourcing is at the core, in the second case it is an important element in the frame of a broad-based strategy. The relative importance of the four strategies implies that, on balance, foreign and domestic R&D are complements. Notwithstanding this positive result, it is sensible to take policy actions supporting the economy to capitalise even more on outward FDI in R&D. Policy basically should aim at securing the attractiveness of Switzerland as a location for R&D-intensive headquarters of firms performing foreign R&D, and at enhancing knowledge spillovers from headquarter companies to other domestic firms. The five categories of measures we recommend are part of a framework-oriented policy design rather than of a more interventionist concept.

Suggested Citation

  • Heinz Hollenstein & Benjamin Jung, 2008. "Characteristics of Foreign R&D Strategies of Swiss Firms: Implications for Policy," FIW Working Paper series 015, FIW.
  • Handle: RePEc:wsr:wpaper:y:2008:i:015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Walter Kuemmerle, 1999. "The Drivers of Foreign Direct Investment into Research and Development: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 30(1), pages 1-24, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schmiele, Anja & Rammer, Christian, 2008. "Drivers and Effects of Internationalising Innovation by SMEs," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-035, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Pietro Moncada-Paterno-Castello & Peter Voigt & Marco Vivarelli, 2011. "Evolution of Globalised business R&D: Features, drivers, impacts," JRC Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2011-02, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    3. Spyros Arvanitis & Heinz Hollenstein, 2010. "How Do Different Motives for R&D Investment in Foreign Locations Affect Domestic Firm Performance? An Analysis Based on Swiss Panel Micro Data," WIFO Working Papers 375, WIFO.
    4. Anja Schmiele, 2008. "Drivers and Effects of Internationalising Innovation by SMEs," Working Papers id:1547, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internationalisation of R&D; Motives of foreign R&D; Foreign R&D strategies; Knowledge spillovers; Home-country effects of outward FDI in R&D;

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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