The Internationalisation of Business R & D

The Internationalisation of Business R & D

New Perspectives on the Modern Corporation series

Edited by Bernhard Dachs, Robert Stehrer and Georg Zahradnik

It has become clear that over the past few decades enterprises not only produce and sell abroad but increasingly also develop goods and services outside their home countries; a development now known as the internationalisation of business R & D. This book presents a comprehensive picture of the current state of internationalisation of R & D in the business sector.

Chapter 6: The Sectoral Perspective

Georg Zahradnik

Subjects: business and management, international business, economics and finance, economics of innovation, international business, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


Innovation is highly sector-specific; it is well documented that innovation processes differ widely across technologies and industries (Marsili 2001; Malerba 2005a, b; Peneder 2007). Concepts such as ëhigh-technologyí or ëlow-technologyí sectors (Hatzichronoglou 1997), sectoral systems of innovation (Malerba 2002, 2004, 2005b), or technological regimes (Malerba and Orsenigo 1996; Marsili 2001) have found wide recognition in the literature as well as in public discussions on technology policy. The sector is also a relevant category in international economics. There are large differences between industries in the share multinational firms have on aggregate production and employment (Barba Navaretti and Venables 2004). In the words of Markusen (1995, p. 172), ëmultinationals tend to be important in industries and firms with four characteristics: high levels of R & D relative to sales; a large share of professional and technical workers in their workforces; products that are new and/or technically complex; and high levels of product differentiation and advertising. These characteristics appear in many studies, and I have never seen any of them contradicted by any studyí. The following chapter compares the internationalisation of business R & D across different sectors. Due to data constraints, the analysis is limited in two respects: first, the data only allow an analysis of inward BERD data but not of outward BERD data. Second, the countries with data available differ across sectors and over time.1 As a result, only the analysis of the six largest sectors2 ñ five manufacturing sectors and knowledge-intensive services ñ is feasible and the interpretation of the results has to be done carefully.

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