K.U.Leuven - Faculty of Economics and Applied Economics
DTEW - MSI_0603 pages:1-25
We develop and empirically test a model of foreign R&D investments that takes into account strategic interaction in R&D location decisions by multinational firms in the context of R&D spillovers and foreign technology sourcing strategies. In a two-country, two-firm model with cross investments, the optimal share of R&D performed abroad depends on the efficiency of intra-firm international technology transfer, the degree of inter-firm R&D spillovers, the intensity of product market competition, and the importance of the general knowledge pool. The impact of these factors differs markedly between technology leading firms and technology laggards. We find support for most of the predictions of the model in an empirical analysis of patents based on innovations in foreign countries by 131 leading European manufacturing firms in 22 ISIC industries in 1996-1997. For technology leaders, the share of patents originating in other EU countries responds positively to host country product market competition and is strongly increasing in the level of intellectual property rights protection. Foreign R&D by technology laggards is discouraged by host country competition but increases with the efficiency of (reverse) technology transfer. Foreign R&D of both leaders and laggards increases with the size of the local knowledge pool and the size of production operations in the host country.