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Technological intensities and economic performance: a study of foreign and local electronics firms in Malaysia

Rajah Rasiah () and Asokkumar Malakolunthu

Asia Pacific Business Review, 2009, vol. 15, issue 2, 181-197

Abstract: This article compares technological intensities (TI) and economic performance of foreign and local electronics firms in Malaysia. The results show that foreign firms enjoyed higher labour productivity, wages and export intensity than local firms, though technological intensities between both sets of firms were similar. The econometric results show a strong and positive relationship between labour productivity and technological intensity in all the samples. The higher coefficient of TI in the local sample compared to the foreign sample shows that productivity in local firms is driven much more from in-house technological effort at host-sites than in foreign firms who can access technology from their parent plants. However, the relationship between TI (contributed by differences in R&D intensity) and export-intensity in the local sample is negative demonstrating that much of such effort is devoted to inward-oriented production. Reversing the relationship also produced the same negative relationship in the local sample. Skills intensity enjoyed a positive relationship with TI with similar coefficients. The positive and significant relationship between wages, and R&D and TI shows that the more technology-intensive local firms pay higher wages to attract human capital.

Date: 2009
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