Volume 29, Issue 1
  • E-ISSN: 2076099X


The paper studies the internationalization of business research and development (R&D) from 2003 up to 2017. It highlights three major results: first, R&D expenditure by foreign-owned firms has been growing, but more slowly than R&D expenditure of domestically owned firms. This is mainly due to the fast growth of business R&D in China, where foreign-owned firms have only a small share of overall business R&D. Second, R&D internationalization has become more network-like and diverse in terms of industries and countries, and less dominated by single relationships between large nations. The rise of emerging economies as host and home countries is just one of several major shifts. Service industries have gained importance as well, but often remain invisible because only a few countries collect data on R&D internationalization in services. The internationalization of R&D has yielded considerable benefits for home and host countries in the form of higher aggregate R&D expenditure and spillovers. Political de-globalization, weakening international institutions and a focus on “national interest” in science and technology may threaten these benefits in the future. A continuation of the policy of nondiscrimination of foreign-owned firms and more, not less, international cooperation is necessary.

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