IWH FDI Micro Database

The IWH FDI Micro Database (FDI = Foreign Direct Investment) comprises a total population of affiliates of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in selected Central- and East European countries as well as East Germany, which was constantly updated throughout the duration of the project. From 2007 to 2013 an annual survey had been implemented in the manufacturing sector and in 2008 it was extended to cover selected services as well. 

The research focuses on the analysis of locational factors of MNEs, the organisation of R&D and Innovation, as well as the potential for knowledge spillovers to the host economy. The IWH FDI Micro Database is analysed by an international network of researchers based in East and West European countries. The research results serve as topical input into policy consultancy at regional, national, and international levels.

In the medium term, the IWH FDI Micro Database offers a potential contribution to the international standardisation and harmonisation of survey activities in the field of economic analysis of the MNE.

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Alexander Giebler
Alexander Giebler

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Research questions

The theory of technological accumulation and firm internationalisation proposes a dynamic relationship between locational technological advantages abroad, the internationalisation of firms’ technological activities, as well as the potential for technological spillovers to the domestic economy. The existing research on multinational enterprises (MNEs) in post communist transition economies of Central and East Europe focuses on locational determinants as well as host country effects. The results indicate that labour costs, market size, geographical proximity, and institutional factors do explain MNEs’ investment into the region. The role of technology related locational aspects has so far not been explored in depth. The empirical research on FDI effects on domestic firms’ productivity shows very mixed results. However, existing analyses consider the multinational enterprise not as an international network for the generation and diffusion of innovation but assume a unidirectional technology transfer perspective from the “West” to the “East”. From our point of view this is not only related to a lack of local absorptive capacity but can also be explained by the technological heterogeneity of MNEs. This view served as starting point for the research regarding MNEs in post-transition regions at the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). The research addresses the following questions:

  • What is the role of technology related locational advantages in the location choice of MNEs?
  • To which extent do multinational affiliates implement technological activities (R&D, innovation) in comparison to the domestic economy?
  • Which locational factors are decisive for the localisation of technological activities in multinational affiliates?
  • To which extent are multinational affiliates’ technological activities connected with the domestic innovation system?
  • Which role does technological heterogeneity in MNEs play for the potential of technology related knowledge spillovers to the domestic economy? 

Data and Methods

Existing German enterprise level datasets (such as the German CIS data, or the IAB-Establishment data) do allow the identification of enterprises with foreign ownership. However, a representative sample of foreign or West German owned multinational affiliates based in East Germany is not available due to different sampling criteria being applied.  The micro database of the German Central Bank (MiDi) registers enterprises with foreign participation only above a threshold of 3 million euros annual turnover and only at it's German regional ‘headquarter’. This leads to an underrepresentation of foreign multinational affiliates, in particular in case of the federal states within East Germany. Furthermore, this excellent source of financial data lacks firm level information on technological and other organisational issues. For selected Central and East European countries the situation is similar and an internationally harmonised and representative survey covering multinational affiliates’ in transition economies does not exist.

After a pilot survey in 2002, the IWH decided to start a primary data collection project on multinational affiliates based in transition economies. The survey ran from 2007 to 2013. An extended survey with a particular thematic focus was conducted in the odd years of 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, whereas a short survey limited to structural indicators was carried out in 2008, 2010, and 2012. The survey took place on an annual basis amongst foreign and West German multinational affiliates based in East Germany. Furthermore, the extended version of the survey was conducted in additional selected transition economies of Central and East Europe. The pilot study in 2002 and the first extended version of the survey in 2007 were implemented in a decentralised way trough country teams. In 2009 the IWH switched to a centralised model. The first survey of 2007 was limited to manufacturing. Since 2008, affiliates in selected services had also been included. The survey covers internationally standardised structural indicators (on the basis of the Frascati and Oslo Manuals) and a range of information related to the MNE specific organisation of technological activities across borders and units. For a brief overview of the variables contained in the respective datasets you may have a look at this variable list (in German language). Additional information on the scope of the survey, the underlying population, and quality of the sample as well as survey method can be found in the respective questionnaire and methodological note for each annual round of the survey:


Methodological Note

Representativeness Analysis

Data access

DOI: 10.18717/iwh.fdi3

Local access to the original survey data

The IWH provides external researchers with this data for non-commercial research purposes only. The data is formally anonymised and can be used at specific workplaces for guest researchers on IWH premises if a research interest is documented. Usage is granted upon application.

Please fill in the application form with your personal data and a detailed research proposal, which documents your research interest. Based on this information we will conclude a user contract. Please note our terms of use.

For further questions please contact: fdz@iwh-halle.de.

External access to Scientific-Use-Files

Since 2011 the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) has been providing external access to the IWH FDI Micro Database via the Data Archive at the Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences (GESIS). Due to data protection regulations and in order to exclude the possibility of an identification of the participating enterprises, we can only offer external access to reduced versions of the original data (Scientific-Use-Files). In comparison to the original data, this dataset includes only information on inward FDI and no information on enterprises with outward FDI. In addition, selected variables such as the year of entry, type of investor, 4-digit industry code, employment, exports and intermediate inputs are only available in modestly transformed categories that still facilitate scientific analyses. The precise differences between the original data and its Scientific-Use-File are fully explained in the questionnaire of the corresponding study description.

The Data Archive GESIS offers all available data sets for a small fee. Using the StudyNo the data sets can be found in the GESIS-Data-Catalogue.  By adding the desired data sets to the shopping the order is executed. The GESIS supplies the external users directly with the datasets after approval of the application. Please note that the Scientific-Use-Files cannot be supplied directly by the IWH.

Survey Country Range Study Descriptions Study No
2013 EG & CEE**  GER / ENG ZA5940
2012 EG* GER / ENG ZA5939
2011 EG & CEE  GER / ENG ZA5938
2010 EG GER / ENG ZA5682
2009 EG & CEE  GER / ENG ZA5078
2008 EG GER / ENG ZA5077
2007 EG & CEE GER / ENG ZA5076

*East Germany; **Central and East Europe

Policy relevance

The research results based on the IWH FDI Micro Database feed an ongoing policy consultancy process at various levels with regard to areas such as investment, R&D, and innovation policy. For example, the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) operated a workshop series jointly with “Germany Trade and Invest” as the federal agency in charge with foreign investment promotion in Germany. The target group of this workshop included regional promotion agencies as well as relevant policy experts at the federal level. At the international level the IWH consulted, for example, the Economic Ministry of the Republic of Azerbaijan with regard to the future investment policy. In addition, research results were used in consultations for the GD Regional Policy and GD Research of the European Commission. Finally, researchers presented the IWH FDI Micro Database as well as corresponding research results at international organisations such as UNCTAD („Symposium on International Investment for Development“) or the OECD („Global Forum on International Investment“).

Presentation and activities in relation to policy advise (selection from IWH research group)

A. Gauselmann: "Auswärtige Investoren in Ostdeutschland", Vortrag im Wirtschaftsministerium Sachsen-Anhalt, 17.09.2014

B. Jindra: "Die IWH-FDI-Mikrodatenbank - Entstehung, Stand und Perspektiven", 10th Bundesbank MiDi Workshop, Bundesbank in Frankfurt am Main, 8 November 2012

B. Jindra: „There is ultimately a data problem - Improving international standardization and coordination of IB surveys“, 3rd Reading conference on International Business: On the troubled relationship between theory and empirical evidence, University of Reading (UK), 10.- 11. 04. 2011

A. Gauselmann and B. Jindra: „Multinational Investors in East Germany", Presentation at the conference of Public Investment Promotion Agencies in the Federal State of Saxony,Aue (Germany), 15. March 2011

B. Jindra and M. Titze: „Investment promotion and the location of multinational firms“, Consultation with representatives of Germany Trade and Invest (GTaI), Halle, 3. February 2011

A. Gauselmann, J. Günther, B. Jindra, P. Marek: "Multinational Investors in East Germany", Presentation at the "Federal Ministry of the Interior, task force of the Beauftragten für die neuen Länder", Berlin, 26. January 2011

J. Günther and B. Jindra: Expert Talks on choice of location for foreign investors in East Germany at Germany Trade and Invest (GTal), the agency of the Federal Republic of Germany for foreign trade and location marketing, 14. July 2010

B. Jindra: „International standardisation of survey based micro data on international investment“, Symposium on International Investment for Development, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva, March 2010

 „Understanding the relationship between knowledge and competitiveness in the enlarged European Union“, Final Project Conference, EU Commission, Brussels, February 2009

„Multinational Investors in East German HighTech-Sectors – Results of the IWH FDI Micro Database 2008“ German Federal Economic and Technology Ministry - Germany Trade and Invest, Berlin, March 2009    

„Investment and FDI Policy for Azerbaijan- Presentation of Final Report”, Ministry for Economic Development of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Baku, November 2008

„Network Alignment and Industrial Policy“, Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Western Cape Provincial Government, Capetown (South Africa), October 2008

  „Interaction of FDI and national innovation systems“, Global Forum on International Investment – Best Practise for Promoting Investment in Development, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris, March 2008

„Foreign Investors: How attractive is East Germany as a location for R&D and Innovation, Analyses und Policy for East Germany – Research of the IWH, Parliament of the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt, Magdeburg, July 2008

„Global Integration and Local Capability as Determinants of R&D Sourcing in MNC subsidiaries - Evidence from five new EU   member countries“, EU Commission - Joint Research Center, Sevilla, October 2007    

„Global Integration and Local Capability as Determinants of R&D Sourcing in MNC subsidiaries - Evidence from five new EU member countries“, EU Commission GD Regional Policy, Brussels, March 2007      

Further presentations for policy advise (without IWH participation)

„Scope and Some Elements of Foreign Direct Investment Policy“, presented by the Institute for Economic Research (IER) at the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies – Economic Policy Seminar, Vienna, November 2009.

„R&D Activities as a Growth Factor of Foreign Owned SMEs in Croatia“, presented by the University of Zagreb at the EU Commission - Joint Research Center, Sevilla, October 2007 

„Foreign subsidiaries in Croatian Manufacturing“, Trade and Investments Promotion Agency in Croatia, September 2007

„Scope and Some Elements of Foreign Direct Investment Policy", Seminar for Economic Policy in Romania organised by the Group of Applied Economists (GEA) and the Institute for Economic Research (IER), March 2007

External funding

EU projects

2012 – 2015 7th Framework Programme EU project: “Growth – Innovation – Competitiveness: Fostering Cohesion in Central and Eastern Europe” (GRINCOH), WP2: The International Context of Cohesion: The role of trade and FDI (in cooperation with UCL/UK, WIIW/Austria, IER/Slovenia, IE-HAS/Hungary).

2006 – 2009    6th Framework Program of the European Union: „Understanding the relationship between knowledge and competitiveness in the enlarging European Union“, Workpackage 1.2: „Knowledge transfer via Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)“; Workpackage 3.4: „Network Alignment“, Participants: Dr. J. Stephan, Dr. J. Günther und B. Jindra
2001- 2004     5th Framework Program of the European Union: „EU Integration and the Prospects for Catching-Up Development in Central Eastern European Countries - The Determinants of the Productivity Gap”, Workpackage: „Technology transfer via FDI, Participants: Dr. J. Stephan und B. Jindra

Other projects

2012 Project commissioned by the Expert Commission on Research and Innovation (EFI) (agency of the federal government): “International locations for R&D and innovation” (in cooperation with WU/Austria and DIW Berlin/Germany)

2012 7th Framework Programme Marie Curie Fellowship in the Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) “Globalization, Investment, and Services Trade (GIST)” for Philipp Marek (IWH) at the University of Ljubljana (supervision Prof. Joze Damijan)

2008    GTZ Private Sector Development Program of the Ministry for Economics of the Republic of Azerbaijan: „Foreign Direct Investment Policy and Economic Development in the non-oil Sector“, Participants: Dr. J. Günther and B. Jindra

2005 – 2006    Ritsumeikan University (Japan): „A comparative Analysis of Japanese multinational affiliates in Central and East Europe“, Participants: Dr. J. Stephan and B. Jindra

Publication output from the IWH FDI Micro Database

Refereed doubled blind journals

Working papers

Articles in “Wirtschaft im Wandel”

Monographs and contributions to edited volumes

J. Stephan (2013) The Technological Role of Inward Foreign Direct Investment in Central East Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndsmill, Basingstoke.

B. Jindra (2011) Internationalisation Theory and Technological Accumulation - An Investigation of Multinational Affiliates in East Germany, Studies in Economic Transition, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndsmill, Basingstoke.

J. Stephan, J. Günther, and B. Jindra (2010): Foreign direct investment in national innovations systems – Evidence from emerging economies in Central and East Europe (CEE), in: Dyker. D. (ed.) Network Dynamics in Emerging Regions of Europe, Imperial College Press.
J. Stephan and L. Voinea (2009): Market Concentration and Innovation in Transitional Corporations: Evidence from Affiliates in Central and East Europe’, in: J.  Larimo and T. Vissak (eds.) Knowledge, Innovation and Internationalization – Progress in International, Vol. 4, Bedfordshire, UK: Emerald Books.

J. Stephan (ed.) (2005): Technology Transfer via Foreign Direct Investment in Central and Eastern Europe: Theory - Methods of Research - Empirical Evidence, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndsmill, Basingstoke.

Other publications

Günther, Jutta (2013) „Internationale FuE-Standorte“, in: „Studien zum Deutschen Innovationssystem“ 11-2013. Abstract

B. Jindra (2010) Internationalisation theory and technological accumulation - an investigation of multinational affiliates in East Germany. PhD thesis, University of Sussex.

B. Jindra (2008): Foreign firms invest to unlock new markets and local technology, Invest in Germany Magazine, No. 02/2008, p. 17.

Publications (without IWH participation)

Refereed doubled blind journals

M. Dabić, D. Tugrul, Z. Aralica, A.E. Bayraktaroglu (2012): Exploring Relationships Among Internationalization, Choice For Research And Development Approach And Technology Source And Resulting Innovation Intensity : Case Of A Transition Country Croatia, in: Journal of High Technology Management Research Journal of High Technology Management Research. 23 (2012) , pp. 1; 15-25.

J. Stephan (2011): Foreign direct Investment in weak intellectual property rights regimes – the example of post-socialist economies, Post-Communist Economies, Vol. 23 (1), pp. 35 -53.

A. Szalavetz (2010): Outward direct investment versus licensing: An SME perspective. Competition, Vol. 8, Issue 2. forthcoming.

M. Rojec, M. Bučar and M. Stare (2009): Backward FDI linkages as a channel for transferring technology and building innovation capability: The case of Slovenia. European Journal of Development Research, Vol. 21, Issue 1, pp. 137-153.

Z. Aralica, D. Račić and D. Redžepagić (2009): R&D Activities as a Growth Factor of Foreign-Owned SMEs in Croatia, Croatian Economic Survey, Vol. 11, pp. 73-94.

M. Rojec, B. Majcen and S. Radošević (2009): Nature and determinants of productivity growth in foreign subsidiaries in Central and East European countries, Economic Systems, Vol. 33, Issue 2,  pp. 168-184.

A. Kokko and V. Kravtsova (2008): Innovative capability in MNC subsidiaries: evidence from four European transition economies, Post-Communist Economies, Vol. 20, Issue 1, pp. 57-75.

Z. Aralica, D. Račić and D. Redžepagić  (2008): Research and development activity as a growth factor of foreign owned SMEs in selected Central and Eastern European countries, Journal of Economics and Business, Vol. 26, Issue 2, pp. 279-300.

M. Rojec, B. Majcen, A. Jaklič and S. Radošević (2005): Productivity Growth and Functional Upgrading in Foreign Subsidiaries in the Slovenian Manufacturing Sector, Journal of East-West Economics and Business, Vol. 8 (1 & 2), pp. 73-100.

Monographs and contributions to edited volumes

Č. Kostevc, T. Redek, and M. Rojec (2010): Scope and effectiveness of FDI Policies in transition countries, in: Rugraff, E. and M. W. Hansen (eds.), Multinationals and Local Firms in Emerging Markets, Amsterdam (NL): Amsterdam University Press.

Z. Aralica, V. Gnjidić, D. Redžepagić (2009): Researching Innovation Strategies of Foreign Investment Enterprises: The Case of Croatia, 8th International Conference: Challenges of Europe, Financial Crisis and Climate Change Conference Proceeding CD ROMSplit - Bol : Ekonomski Fakultet, Split, pp. 445-459.

M. Dabić, D. Tugrul, Z. Aralica (2009): The role of Internationalization on the intensity of local innovation: Case of a transition country Croatia, The XX ISPIM Conference "The Future of Innovation": Book of Abstracts / Hulzingh, K.R.E.; Conn, S.; Torkkeli, M.; Bitran, I. (ur.). Vienna: ISPIM, pp. 212-212.

M. Dabić, Z. Aralica (2008): The role of Internationalisation of MNC for building high growth performance in the local subsidiaries: the case of Croatia, Conference on Competitiveness, Territory and Industrial Policy: 2008 EUNIP: proceeddings / Mari Jose Aranguren; James R. Wilson (ur.). San Sebastian: Orkestra, The Institute of Kompetitiveness and Development, and ESTE-University of Deusto, Spain.

K. Männik and  N. von Tunzelmann (2006): Multinational Subsidiaries and Innovation Policy in Central and Eastern Europe: Alignment and Autonomy, in: A. T.  Tavares and A. Teixeira (eds.) Multinationals, Clusters and Innovation - Does Public Policy Matter?, Houndsmill, Basingstoke (UK): Palgrave Macmillan.

K. Männik (2006): The impact of the autonomy on the performance of a multinational corporations‘ subsidiary in transition countries, Tartu (EST): Tartu University Press.

Promotion of academics

The scientific promotion and qualification of researchers of the project “Multinational Enterprises in Post-Transition Regions” on the basis of the IWH FDI Micro Database is one of the central strategic objectives. Participating researchers have successfully combined the acquisition of external funding, research cooperation, and scientific qualification at various levels.   

Habilitation projects

J. Günther "Structural change and the emergence of an innovation system - the case of East Germany". Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena 2014. PDF

J. Stephan (IWH Research Affiliate) "The Technological Role of Inward Manufacturing Foreign Direct Investment in Central East Europe – An Investigation into the Conditions of Technology Transfer and Diffusion", Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg 2012. PDF

PhD projects

P. Marek "The role of multinational enterprises in the transition process of Central and Eastern European economies"“. University of Groningen 2015. PDF

S. S. Hassan "utward FDI by the emerging market multinationals: location choice analyses in the European Union". Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena 2014. PDF

A. Gauselmann "Post-transition Regions as Locations for Foreign Direct Investment of Multinational Enterprises". Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg 2014. PDF

D. van Vo „Subsidiary decision-making autonomy in international enterprises“. University of Groningen 2014. PDF

B. Jindra „Internationalisation theory and technological accumulation – An investigation of multinational affiliates in East Germany“. University of Sussex 2010. PDF

K. Männik „The impact of the autonomy on the performance of a multinational corporations‘ subsidiary in transition countries“. University of Tartu 2006. PDF

MA projects

M. Kirst "Nutzer-Innovationen in multinationalen Unternehmen in den neuen Ländern", faculty of Law and Economics at the Martin-Luther-University - Halle-Wittenberg, October 2011. PDF

K. Redmann „Foreign direct investment from Transition economies – An empirical Analysis of determinants, motives, and effects”, faculty of Law and Economics at the Martin-Luther-University - Halle-Wittenberg, 2011.

J.-P. Angenendt “Foreign Direct Investment in Central Europe and Differences in Transition between post-communist Central European Economies”, submitted to the University of Warwick (UK), Department of Economics, September 2010. PDF

D. Sischka „Foreign Direct Investment, technological spoillovers, and local trade – An Empirical Analysis for Central and East Europe“, faculty of Law and Economics at the Martin-Luther-University - Halle-Wittenberg, Title awarded in 2009. PDF

Research oriented teaching

Findings based on the IWH FDI Micro Database contributed to research oriented teaching at selected Universities with whom the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) maintains research cooperations.

J. Günther "Multinationale Unternehmen und Innovation", Seminar at Economics faculty of the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena (DE), Chair of Microeconomics, (2011/12)

J. Günther "Evolutionary Economics, Multinational Enterprises. And Innovation", Seminar at Economics faculty of the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena (DE), (2009/2010)

J. Günther "Globalisation of innovation – the Role of Multinational Enterprises", Seminar at Economics faculty of the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena (DE), (2008/2009, 2008)

J. Günther und B. Jindra “Globalisation of innovation – the Role of Multinational Enterprises in Transition Economies” Seminar in the MA Programme Public Policy, at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt, (2007)

J. Günther „Multinational Enterprises in transition Economies", Seminar at the Faculties of political Sciences and the faculty of economics at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (2005/2006)

J. Stephan „International Business in Developing and Emerging Markets“, MBA Programme, Technical University Freiberg, (since 2009/2010)

J. Stephan „International Corporate Management and MNCs“ MA module, Technical University Freiberg (since 2010/2011)



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