Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

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

No 22: Multinational Enterprises, Spillovers, Innovation and Productivity

Bernd Ebersberger and Hans Lööf ()
Additional contact information
Bernd Ebersberger: Technology Analysis & Innovation Strategies, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, Postal: Breslauer Str. 48, D-76139 Karlsruhe, Germany, Sweden
Hans Lööf: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Recent debate has focused on the importance of corporate governance, localization of headquarters, foreign direct investments, externalities and key actors in national innovation systems and productivity. This study explores whether foreign-owned multinational firms differ systematically from domestic firms in terms of R&D-investments, transmission of technological knowledge and economic performance. The econometric analysis is based on a sample of 1 197 firm-level observations in Sweden, of which approximately a third from firms with foreign owners. The main finding is that domestic multinational firms are distinct from Nordic, Anglo-Saxon and European and other groups of corporate owners in terms of R&D investments and embeddedness in scientific, vertical and horizontal innovation systems. However, the advantage of higher R&D intensity and possible knowledge technological knowledge spillover does not manifest itself in superior innovation output or productivity performance. Our tentative explanation is that domestic multinationals are using the home country for developing technological capacity that is subsequently exploited in affiliates abroad. Correspondingly, the innovation and productivity performance in foreign multinationals are partly returns on activities created in their home countries

Keywords: Multinational Enterprises; Spillovers; R&D; Innovation; Productivity

JEL-codes: C31; D21; F23; G34; O31

40 pages, November 23, 2004

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