Tracking the internationalization of multinational corporate inventive activity: national and sectoral characteristics

Research Area: Internationalisation de la R D Year: 2015
Type of Publication: Article
  • Floortje Alkemade
  • Gaston Heimeriks
  • Antoine Schoen
  • Lionel Villard
  • Patricia Laurens
Journal: Research Policy Volume: 44
Number: 9 Pages: 1763–1772
Month: November
This paper introduces a unique database, the Corporate Invention Board (CIB). The CIB combines patent data from the PATSTAT database with financial data from the ORBIS database about the 2289 companies with the largest R&D investments. We illustrate the database by showing a comprehensive overview of national and sectoral patterns of R&D internationalization by multinational corporations in the period 1993–2005. The results show heterogeneity in sectoral and national patterns of internationalization. These patterns have remained relatively stable over the 1993–2005 period. China is among the least internationalized countries and European countries, especially the UK and the Netherlands, are among the most internationalized countries. The largest countries in terms of patent production, such as Germany and the US, have internationalization profiles that can be very well predicted based upon their sectoral composition. Other country profiles, however, diverge significantly from the prediction based on sectoral profile. Asian countries are on average less internationalized than would be expected, whereas the European countries and Canada are more internationalized. We find that while national level indicators explain a large part of the variance observed in the ability of countries to attract R&D from foreign multinationals, there are significant differences between sectors and this has large implications for the design of foreign R&D and innovation policies. The CIB opens up a wide array of opportunities to study the internationalization strategies of firms and countries.