Multinational Firms, Technology Diffusion and Trade
41 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2004 Last revised: 29 Jun 2012
Date Written: August 1991
Empirical evidence indicates a close association between multinational firms and knowledge capital, a public good within the firm. We model a firm which wishes to exploit its knowledge capital abroad, but whose workers learn all the knowledge necessary for production and can defect and produce the good themselves. The home firm must then choose between costly exporting and the possible dissipation of its knowledge capital by producing abroad. The paper examines the choice between exporting, licensing, and acquiring a subsidiary in this environment. We analyze the cost and technology parameters that support the alternative modes of serving the foreign market, and we describe the international equilibrium that jointly determines the pattern of specialization and the market mode.
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