R&D in Swedish Multinational Corporations

57 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2020

See all articles by Gunnar Fors

Gunnar Fors

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Roger Svensson

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Date Written: February 15, 1994


Using unique data on Swedish multinational corporations (MNCs), this study investigates several dimensions relating to industrial R&D. The development in the latter part of the 1980s is emphasized. Between 1978 and 1990, R&D intensity of the Swedish MNCs almost doubled from about 2 to 4 percent. It is further noted that growth in real R&D expenditures declined in the second half of the 1980s compared with the early 1980s. The statistical analysis supports the view that Swedish MNCs to a large extent base their international competitiveness, measured as foreign sales as a percentage of total sales, on technological capabilities created through R&D activities. On the other hand, the analysis also indicates that more sales in foreign markets increases the rate of return on each R&D SEK spent, and, thus, induces more R&D expenditures. Finally, it is shown that the marginal productivity of R&D is positive, although this effect is statsitically weak and seems to have decreased over time.

Keywords: R&D, foreign sales, international competitiveness, foreign direct investment, FDI, exports, multinationals

JEL Classification: F23, O32

Suggested Citation

Fors, Gunnar and Svensson, Roger, R&D in Swedish Multinational Corporations (February 15, 1994). IFN Working Paper No. 406, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3636882 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3636882

Gunnar Fors

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
S-114 85 Stockholm, SE-102 15

Roger Svensson (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
+46-8-6654549 (Phone)
+46-8-6654599 (Fax)

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