NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Do Stronger Intellectual Property Rights Increase International Technology Transfer? Empirical Evidence from U.S. Firm-Level Data

Lee Branstetter, Raymond Fisman, C. Fritz Foley

NBER Working Paper No. 11516
Issued in August 2005
NBER Program(s):   ITI   PR

This paper examines how technology transfer within U.S. multinational firms changes in response to a series of IPR reforms undertaken by 16 countries over the 1982-1999 period. Analysis of detailed firm-level data reveals that royalty payments for technology transferred to affiliates increase at the time of reforms, as do affiliate R&D expenditures and total levels of foreign patent applications. Increases in royalty payments and R&D expenditures are concentrated among affiliates of parent companies that use U.S. patents extensively prior to reform and are therefore expected to value IPR reform most. For this set of affiliates, increases in royalty payments exceed 30 percent. Our results collectively imply that U.S. multinationals respond to changes in IPR regimes abroad by significantly increasing technology transfer to reforming countries.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11516

Published: Branstetter, Lee G., Raymond Fisman and C. Fritz Foley. "Do Stronger Intellectual Property Rights Increase International Technology Transfer? Empirical Evidence From U.S. Firm-Level Panel Data," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2006, v121(1,Feb), 321-349.

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