East German Innovation System attractive for Foreign Investors
Foreign direct investment (FDI) plays an important role in the catching-up process of East Germany due to direct employment- and demand related effects. However, this article takes a technological perspective on FDI in East Germany. It considers technological activities of foreign investors (R&D and innovation) and asks to what extent these are integrated into the East German innovation system. In other words, do foreign investors interact technologically with domestic enterprises and scientific institutions? So far, there seems to be a striking absence of empirical evidence on this issue. The basis for our analysis is recent data from a representative survey of foreign direct investors in East German manufacturing completed in 2007. The findings show that on average foreign investors are more R&D and innovation intensive compared to the total of East German manufacturing. In addition, their technological activities are by no means isolated from the East German innovation system. Foreign subsidiaries seem to benefit from East German customers, suppliers and especially scientific institutions with regard to locally conducted R&D and innovation. Contrary to existing assumptions the East German innovation system seems to be particularly attractive for the most technologically active foreign subsidiaries. This could constitute a major locational advantage for FDI in East Germany over Central and East Europe. However, the technologically active foreign investors believe that only East German suppliers are able to benefit from their technological cooperation. The same cannot be said about East German customers or competitors. Thus, the potential for technological externalities from FDI in East Germany seems still to be limited.