Using data from the Istat Business R&D (RS1) Survey we explore inward and outward R&D activities of different categories of firms resident in Italy in 2001-2010. From this perspective we provide detailed evidence of the role played by this country in the global creation and transmission of technology. First, foreign owned multinationals are the most active in cross-border R&D but holding a low and decreasing share. This trend confirms that the Italian economy is a poorer and poorer attractor of high value added investments from abroad, while national companies have significantly increased their R&D efforts over the past decade. Second, although outward expenditures of Italian companies increased substantially, R&D performed abroad remains a minor component of business research activities, and is due to a small number of firms investing in a few destination countries. We argue that this paucity of outward R&D activity might hinder both "asset exploiting" and "asset seeking" strategies of Italian firms. Third, we find a strong positive correlation between outward R&D and other innovative activities, including domestic research and R&D commissioned to foreign affiliates.
Keywords: R&D internationalisation, corporate R&D, R&D flows
Jel Code: F10, F23, O33