The internationalization of business R&D

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The OECD has recently come out with a new publication, this time on The Internationalisation of Business R&D. A lot of OECD publications provoke a half yawn from me, but this one is worth a look. Here's the main thrust:

...non-OECD countries have attracted an increasing amount of R&D investment in recent years. Surveys indicate that China and India, among others, are now considered very attractive locations for future investment both because of their large and rapidly growing markets and their large pools of qualified workers and their relatively low, though rising, labour costs. However, they also indicate important drawbacks, such as inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). While these may not deter companies from investing, they may affect the type of R&D undertaken in these countries.

And here is some of the data that supports this statement:


I haven't had a chance to get through the whole document (it's 111 pages), but it seems to me that these are the central questions raised by this trend:

  • Will the globalization of R&D serve to develop technology that will boost developed countries? Or will it continue to serve developed markets? Or a bit of both?
  • Can this trend by harnessed to advance BOP strategies for businesses?
  • To what extent will this trend help turn brain drain into brain circulation?
  • Will the desire to attract R&D investment create a large incentive for developing and transition countries to pass stricter intellectual property laws and devote resources to enforcing them?


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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