Click here to download

The cross border R&D activity of italian business firms
Author/s: Claudio Cozza, Antonello Zanfei 
Year:  2014 Issue: Language: Italian 
Pages:  26 Pg. 39-64 FullText PDF:  125 KB
DOI:  10.3280/POLI2014-003003
(DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation:  clicca qui   and here 

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

  1. Aristei D., Castellani D., Franco C. 2013. Firms’ exporting and importing activities: is there a two-way relationship?. Review of World Economics, 149 (1): 55-84,, DOI: 10.1007/s10290-012-0137-y
  2. Barca F., Trento S. 1997. State ownership and the evolution of italian corporate governance. Industrial and Corporate Change, 6 (3): 533-559,, DOI: 10.1093/icc/6.3.533
  3. Boschma R., Iammarino S. 2009. Related variety, trade linkages, and regional growth in Italy. Economic Geography, 85 (3): 289-311,, DOI: 10.1111/j.1944-8287.2009.01034.x
  4. Bottazzi G., Cefis E., Dosi G. 2002. Corporate growth and industrial structure. Some evidence from the Italian manufacturing industries. Industrial and Corporate Change, 11 (4): 705-723,, DOI: 10.1093/icc/11.4.705
  5. Cantwell J.A. 1995. The globalisation of technology: what remains of the products cycle model?. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 19 (1): 155-174.
  6. Castellani D., Zanfei A. 2006. Multinationals, Innovation and Productivity. Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham.
  7. Chen v.Z., Li J., Shapiro D.M. 2012. International reverse spillover effects on parent firms: evidences from emerging-market MnEs in developed markets. European Management Journal, 30 (3): 204-218,, DOI: 10.1016/j.emj.2012.03.005
  8. Colajanni N. 1991. Il capitalismo senza capitale. Sperling & Kupfer: Milano.
  9. Colecchia, A. 2007. NESTI Work on R&D Internationalisation: Issues for Discussion. OECD: Paris.
  10. Colli A., Vasta M. (eds.) 2010. Forms of Enterprises in 20th Century Italy. Boundaries, Structures and Strategies. Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham Northampton.
  11. Cozza C. 2010. Measuring the Internationalisation of EU Corporate R&D: A Novel Complementary Use of Statistical Sources. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports: Luxembourg,, DOI: 10.2791/48097
  12. Criscuolo P., Patel P. 2003. Large firms and internationalisation of R&D: hollowing out of national technological capacity?. Paper presented at the SETI Workshop. May 15-16, Rome.
  13. Dachs B., Pyka, A. 2010. What drives the internationalisation of innovation? Evidence from European patent data. Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 19 (1): 71-86,, DOI: 10.1080/10438590903016476
  14. Dachs B., Stehrer R., Zahradnik G. (eds.) 2014. The Internationalisation of Business R&D. Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham.
  15. Damijan J.P., Konings J., Polanec S. 2013. Pass-on trade: why do firms simultaneously engage in two-way trade in the same varieties? Review of World Economy, 149 (1): 85-111, 10.1007/s10290-012-0138-x.
  16. De Benedictis l. 2005. Three decades of Italian comparative advantages. The World Economy, 28 (11): 1679-1709,, DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.454060
  17. Driffield N., Love J.H., Menghinello S. 2009. The multinational enterprise as a source of international knowledge flows: direct evidence from Italy. Journal of International Business Studies, 41 (2): 350-359,, DOI: 10.1057/jibs.2009.57
  18. Dunning J.H., Lundan S.M. 2009. The internationalization of corporate R&D: a review of the evidence and some policy implications for home countries. Review of Policy Research, 26 (1-2): 13-33,, DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-1338.2008.00367.x
  19. European Commission. 2004. Monitoring Industrial Research: the 2004 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard. European Commission: Luxembourg.
  20. European Commission. 2008. Monitoring Industrial Research: the 2008 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard. European Commission: Luxembourg,, DOI: 10.2791/53870
  21. European Commission. 2011. Monitoring Industrial Research: the 2011 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard. European Commission: Luxembourg,, DOI: 10.2791/64154
  22. European Commission. 2012. Internationalisation of business Investments in R&D. European Commission: Luxembourg,, DOI: 10.2777/60978
  23. Filippetti A., Frenz M., Ietto-Gillies G. 2011. Are innovation and internationalization related? An analysis of European countries. Industry and Innovation, 18 (5): 437-459,, DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2011.583461
  24. Girma S., Kneller R., Pisu M. 2005. Exports versus FDI: an empirical test. Review of World Economics, 141 (2): 193-218,, DOI: 10.1007/s10290-005-0025-9
  25. Hall B., Lotti F., Mairesse J. 2009. Innovation and productivity in SMEs: empirical evidence for Italy. Small Business Economics, 33 (1): 13-33,, DOI: 10.1007/s11187-009-9184-8
  26. Hedge D., Hicks D. 2008. The maturation of global corporate R&D: evidence from activity of US foreign subsidiaries. Research Policy, 37 (3): 390-406,, DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2007.12.004
  27. Helpman E., Melitz M., Yeaple S. 2004. Export versus FDI with heterogenous firms. American Economic Review, 94 (1): 300-316,, DOI: 10.1257/000282804322970814
  28. Hobday M. 1995. Innovation in East Asia. Edward Elgar Publishing: Hants.
  29. Kuemmerle W. 1999. The drivers of foreign direct investment into research and development: an empirical investigation. Journal of International Business Studies, 30 (1): 1-24,, DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8490058
  30. Le Bas C., Sierra C. 2002. Location versus country advantages in R&D activities: some further results on multinationals’ location strategies. Research Policy, 31 (4): 589-609,, DOI: 10.1016/S0048-7333(01)00128-7
  31. Leithner S., Stehrer R. 2014. Impacts of R&D internationalization on domestic R&D activities, in Dachs B., Stehrer R., Zahradnik G. (eds.) The Internationalization of Business R&D. Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham-Northampton.
  32. Mahmood I.P., Mitchell W. 2004. Two faces: effects of business groups on innovation in emerging economies. Management Science, 50 (10): 1348-1365.
  33. Mariotti S., Mutinelli M. 2012. Italia multinazionale 2012. le partecipazioni italiane all’estero e estere in Italia, MIP-ICE. Rubbettino Editore: Soveria Mannelli.
  34. Melitz M. 2004. The impact of trade on aggregate industry productivity and intra-industry reallocation. Econometrica, 71 (6): 1695-1725,, DOI: 10.1111/1468-0262.00467
  35. Narula R., Zanfei A. 2005. Globalisation of innovation, in Fagerberg J., Mowery D., Nelson R.R. (eds.) Handbook of Innovation: Oxford University Press: Oxford.
  36. Nuvolari L., Vasta M. 2012. The ghost in the attic? The Italian national innovation system in historical perspective, 1861-2011. Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia Politica e Statistica dell’Università di Siena 665.
  37. OECD. 2002. Frascati Manual. Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development. OECD: Paris.
  38. OECD. 2008. The Internationalisation of Business R&D: Evidence, Impacts and Implications. OECD: Paris.
  39. OECD. 2011. Attractiveness for Innovation: Location Factors for International Investment. OECD: Paris.
  40. Pavitt K., Patel P. 1991. Technological strategies of the world’s largest companies. Science and Public Policy, 18 (6): 363-368,, DOI: 10.1093/spp/18.6.363
  41. UNCTAD. 2005. Transnational Corporations and the Internationalization of R&D, World Investment Report 2005. United nations Conference for Trade and Development: New York-Geneva.
  42. Van Pottelsberghe de De la Potterie B., Lichtenberg F. 2001. Does foreign direct investment transfer technology across borders?. Review of Economics and Statistics, 83 (3): 490-497,, DOI: 10.1162/00346530152480135
  43. Zahradnik G. 2014. R&D internationalization across countries and over time, in Dachs B., Stehrer R., Zahradnik G. (eds.) The Internationalization of Business R&D. Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham-Northampton.
  44. Zahradnik G., Urban W. 2014. Issues in collecting data on the internationalisation of R&D, in Dachs B., Stehrer R., Zahradnik G. (eds.) The Internationalization of Business R&D. Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham-Northampton.
  45. Zanfei A. 2000. Transnational firms and the changing organisation of innovative activities. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 24 (5): 515-542,, DOI: 10.1093/cje/24.5.515
  46. Zeli A. 2002. Relazioni tra stima dell’efficienza e appartenenza a gruppi di imprese nel settore manifatturiero. Un’indagine esplorativa. Studi e Note di Economia, 1: 155-175.

Claudio Cozza, Antonello Zanfei, in "ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE " 3/2014, pp. 39-64, DOI:10.3280/POLI2014-003003


FrancoAngeli is a member of Publishers International Linking Association a not for profit orgasnization wich runs the CrossRef service, enabing links to and from online scholarly content