Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 211–234 | Cite as

Explaining the Current Innovative R&D Outsourcing to Developing Countries

  • Zachary CohleEmail author


While multinational firms from developed countries have used researchers from emerging areas to assist in the adaption of an existing product, few multinational firms have carried out innovative R&D, or R&D for the creation of a new product, in these areas. Using the threat of imitation and wage differences of researchers across regions, this study proposes a partial equilibrium model to explain the lack of innovative R&D in developing countries. I build a North-South model examining a single firm’s choice of research locations. The model predicts that weak IPR-protection in developing countries does not necessarily explain the lack of Southern research. In some situations, reduced IPR-protection can even increase Southern research. Harsh competition resulting from information leaks coupled with weak IPR-protection can explain much of the lack of innovative research investment in the developing world. My model also predicts that firms with low research needs, or firms in low-tech industries, locate their R&D in the North. Firms with medium research need locate in both countries while the firms with the largest research needs, or firms in high-tech industries, locate research in just the South.


R&D Innovation IPR-protection Multinational Employee mobility 

JEL Classification

F2 J3 L1 L2 O3 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsQuinnipiac UniversityHamdenUSA

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