Does internationalisation of technology determine technological diversification in large firms?
Christian Le Bas
multinational firms, technological diversification,internationalisation of technology, patenting
The purpose of the paper is to examine the relationship between technological diversification and internationalisation of technology for large multinational firms, operating at the world technological frontier. More precisely we address the question as to whether internationalisation determines diversification. The analysis is based on a rich database of the European patenting activity of 345 large multinational firms with the highest levels of patenting over two periods of time (1988-1990 and 1994-1996). The relationship is tested using a variety of different regression models. The results show that for the sample as a whole there is no statistically significant relationship between technological diversification and internationalisation of technology. However when the sample is disaggregated according to the predominant internationalisation strategy adopted by a firm, we find a statistically significant relationship. Our results show that in a cross-section of firms adopting a homebase- augmenting strategy, internationalisation determines the level of diversification. Thus amongst such large firms a higher level of internationalisation of technology is associated with a greater level of diversification.