NBER Working Papers and Publications by Christian Fons-Rosen

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Working Papers and Chapters and Reporter Articles

August 2017Foreign Investment and Domestic Productivity: Identifying Knowledge Spillovers and Competition Effects
with Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Bent E. Sorensen, Carolina Villegas-Sanchez, Vadym Volosovych: w23643
We study the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on total factor productivity (TFP) of domestic firms using a new, representative firm-level data set spanning six countries. A novel finding is that firm-level spillovers from foreign firms to domestic companies can be significantly positive, non-existent, or even negative, depending on which sectors receive FDI. When foreign firms produce in the same narrow sector as domestic firms, the latter are negatively affected by increasing competition and positively affected by knowledge spillovers. We find that the positive spillovers dominate if foreign firms enter sectors where firms are “technologically close,” controlling for the endogeneity of their entry decision into such sectors. Positive technology spillovers also affect firms in oth...
December 2015Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?
with Pierre Azoulay, Joshua S. Graff Zivin: w21788
We study the extent to which eminent scientists shape the vitality of their fields by examining entry rates into the fields of 452 academic life scientists who pass away while at the peak of their scientific abilities. Key to our analyses is a novel way to delineate boundaries around scientific fields by appealing solely to intellectual linkages between scientists and their publications, rather than collaboration or co-citation patterns. Consistent with previous research, the flow of articles by collaborators into affected fields decreases precipitously after the death of a star scientist (relative to control fields). In contrast, we find that the flow of articles by non-collaborators increases by 8% on average. These additional contributions are disproportionately likely to be highly cite...
March 2013Quantifying Productivity Gains from Foreign Investment
with Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Bent E. Sørensen, Carolina Villegas-Sanchez, Vadym Volosovych: w18920
We quantify the causal effect of foreign investment on total factor productivity (TFP) using a new global firm-level database. Our identification strategy relies on exploiting the difference in the amount of foreign investment by financial and industrial investors and simultaneously controlling for unobservable firm and country-sector-year factors. Using our well identified firm level estimates for the direct effect of foreign ownership on acquired firms and for the spillover effects on domestic firms, we calculate the aggregate impact of foreign investment on country-level productivity growth and find it to be very small.

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