Foreign Ownership, R&D and Technology Sourcing

Working Paper, NUPI

This paper explores the relationship between domestic R&D and the inflow of foreign capital through foreign direct investment and foreign ownership. The idea that firms invest in a foreign country in order to more easily absorb the knowledge and technology of foreign firms is tested empirically using a unique firm level data set covering foreign ownership and R&D for all Norwegian firms over the period 1990 to 1996. The study gives no clear evidence supporting the existence of such a motive behind foreign ownership. On the other hand, the econometric study indicates that foreign investors may try to exploit their technological advantages in the Norwegian market. The results also show that the degree of foreign ownership is more volatile when firms are highly R&D intensive. We hypothesize that this is due to the fact that large R&D investments often result in large losses as well as gains to the firms.