This paper presents the sectoral and geographic distribution of R&D-related activities, in comparison with manufacturing activities, by analysing data (from the fDi Markets database) on the number of cross-border greenfield investment projects. Investments are concentrated in fewer sectors and countries than manufacturing, and are less sensitive to the obstacles related with the distance between home and host countries. More than two-thirds of all cross-border investments are in the ICT/Electronic and Life Sciences/Chemical sectors, showing a different propensity towards R&D and Design, Development and Testing activities. Almost half of the investments is due to multinationals from North America, and over one third from Western Europe, featuring a different sectoral specialisation. Asia is the largest recipient area for ICT/Electronics and Industrial Machinery, while Western Europe ranks second and attracts relatively more research units in Life Sciences/Chemicals and in the Machinery industry.
Keywords: Internazionalisation of R&D, multinational firms, Europe, North America, Asia
Jel Code: F23, O30, L23