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Does foreign technology transfer spur domestic innovation? Evidence from the high-speed rail sector in China

Yatang Lin, Yu Qin () and Zhuan Xie

Journal of Comparative Economics, 2021, vol. 49, issue 1, 212-229

Abstract: This paper investigates the introduction of high-speed railway (HSR) technology into China to study the local impacts of foreign technology transfer. The large-scale technology transfer project, covering specific technological categories and directly benefiting railway-related firms in various cities, enables us to describe how foreign technology is digested and spurs follow-up innovation in firms apart from directly receiving ones. We find that technology transfer generates significant localized spillovers to nearby firms not only in terms of more patents, but also as higher productivity and revenue growth. Moreover, technological similarity, rather than input-output linkages, plays a dominant role in explaining the knowledge spillover both at the firm level and the aggregate level, which indicates the importance of absorptive capacity in digesting foreign technologies. Overall, our paper sheds new light on the innovation policy of developing countries as well as the global business strategy of multinational corporations (MNCs).

Keywords: Innovation; Foreign technology transfer; Knowledge spillover; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F23 O14 O25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2020.08.004

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