Determinants of Foreign Technological Activity in German Regions – A Count Model Analysis of Transnational Patents
Most research on R&D internationalisation focuses on comparative analysis of location factors at the national level of analysis. Very little work, however, has taken place in this field for the sub-national regional location behavior of multi-national enterprises (MNE). The paper contributes to the existing research by providing evidence on the determinants of foreign technological activities at the sub-national level for Germany, which hosts the largest share of foreign R&D within the EU27 and features the highest cross-regional dispersion of patented research. Using a pooled count data model, we estimate the effect of various sources for externalities on the extent of foreign technological activity across regions. Particular attention is paid to the role of local knowledge spillovers, technological specialization and diversification. We differentiate foreign and domestic sources of specialisation and account for region and sector-specific influences. This is the first time that the ‘cross-border-ownership’ principle to measure R&D internationalisation is combined with regionalised patent information. To verify our findings we develop hypotheses. In particular, we expect and find that foreign technological activity is attracted by technologically specialised sectors of regions. In contrast to current empirical work, this effect applies both to foreign as well as domestic sources of specialization, although effects on foreign specialization seem more significant. We expect and find the same for science-industry spillovers. We postulate a negative impact of domestic specialization on foreign technological activities and a strong positive effect from diversificationspillovers, by comparison with specialisation spillovers, but these hypotheses are rejected. We find that the direction of the specialisation effect depends on dominance in the position of domestic firms as well as on the balance of knowledge flows between them and foreign actors.