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CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology KTH/CESIS Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation

No 69:
Does Ownership Matter? The Impact of Foreign Takeovers on Innovation and Productivity Performance

Bernd Ebersberger (), Börje Johansson () and Hans Lööf ()

Abstract: Recent debate has focused on how foreign direct investments and foreign take-overs may effect growth and welfare. In this study we have methodologically approximated foreign-ownership by foreign take-over and raised the question: how would a firm’s behaviour and performance have been if a foreign owner had not acquired the firm? The analysis is based on a sample of 5 186 firm-level observations in four Nordic countries, of which approximately 30 percent of the firms have foreign owners. The econometric design helps us to establish some new findings. First, no robust difference in the propensity to be innovative can be established. Second, among the group of innovative firms, foreign-owned multinationals are generally outperformed by domestic multinationals in R&D and innovation engagement. Finally, the results on labor productivity are at variance with the findings in a large number of previous comparison studies. We find that foreign take-over of firms are neutral with respect to labor productivity, and hence the issue of welfare gain and welfare drain is turned into a non-issue.

Keywords: Multinational enterprises; Take-Over; Corporate governance; Cross-country comparison; Spillovers; R&D; Innovation; Productivity; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C31; D21; F23; G34; L22; O31; O33; (follow links to similar papers)

35 pages, May 31, 2006

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