Measuring the Internationalisation of the Generation of Knowledge

An Approach Based on Patent Data
  • Dominique Guellec
  • Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie


This paper presents three new patent-based indicators of internationalisation of knowledge generation. They measure the extent of international cooperation in research and the international location of research facilities associated with multinational firms — i.e., cross-border ownership. These indicators are based on triadic patent data (patent families applied in the US, Europe and Japan), and on the patents granted by the USPTO. They witness both an increasing trend towards the internationalisation of knowledge generation and large cross-country differences in the extent of internationalisation. The degree of technological internationalisation is higher for small countries and for countries with a low R&D intensity. Two countries are more likely to collaborate if they are close to each other, if they have a similar technological specialization and if they share a common language.


Foreign Direct Investment Foreign Firm Multinational Firm Patent Data Foreign Affiliate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Archibugi, D., Howells, J., Michie, J. (1999). Innovation policy in a global economy. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Archibugi, D., Iammarino, S. (1999). The policy implications of the globalisation of innovation, chapter 12. In Archibugi et al. (Ed.), (pp. 242–271).Google Scholar
  3. Archibugi, D., Pianta, M. (1992). The technological specialisation of advanced countries, A report to the EEC on international science and technology activities. Boston: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  4. Cantwell, J. (1989). Technological innovation and multinational corporations. New York: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Cantwell, J. (1995). The globalisation of technology: what remains of the product life cycle model. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 19(1), 155–174.Google Scholar
  6. Cantwell, J., Harding, R. (1998). The internationalisation of German companies R&D. National Institute Economic Review, 163, 99–124.Google Scholar
  7. Cantwell, J., Iammarino, S. (1998). MNCs, technological innovation and Regional Systems in the EU: Some evidence in the Italian case. International Journal of the Economics of Business, 5(3), 383–408.Google Scholar
  8. Cantwell, J., Janne, O. (1999). Technological globalisation and innovative centres: the role of corporate technological leadership and locational hierarchy. Research Policy, 28, 119–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dernis, H., Guellec D., van Pottelsberghe, B. (2001). Using patent counts for cross-country comparisons of technology output. STI Review, 27, 129–146.Google Scholar
  10. Dunning, J.H. (1994). Multinational enterprises and the globalization of innovatory capacity. Research Policy, 23, 67–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dunning, J.H., Wymbs, C. (1999). The geographical sourcing of technology-based assets by multinational enterprises, chapter 10. In Archibugi et al. (Ed.), 185–224.Google Scholar
  12. Gassman, O., von Zedtwitz, M. (1999). New concepts and trends in international R&D organisation. Research Policy, 28, 231–250.Google Scholar
  13. Gassman, O., von Zedtwitz, M. (2002). Market versus technology drive in R&D internationalisation: four different patterns of managing research and development. Research Policy, 31, 569–588.Google Scholar
  14. Granstrand, O., Häkanson, L., Sjölander, S. (1993). Internationalization of R&D. A survey of some recent research, Research Policy, 22, 413–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Griliches, Z. (1990). Patent statistics as economic indicators: A survey. Journal of Economic Literature, 28, 1661–1707.Google Scholar
  16. Guellec, D., van Pottelsberghe, B. (2001). The internationalisation of technology analysed with patent data. Research Policy, 30(8), 1256–1266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jaffe, A.B. (1986). Technological opportunity and spillovers of R&D: Evidence from firm’s patent, profits and market value. The American Economic Review, 76(5), 984–1001.Google Scholar
  18. Lichtenberg, F., van Pottelsberghe, B. (2001). Does foreign direct investment transfer technology across borders? The Review of Economics and Statistics, 83(3), 490–497.Google Scholar
  19. Narula, R. (2003). Technology and globalisation: Interdependence, innovation systems and industrial policy. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Niosi, J. (1999). The internationalization of industrial R&D: From technology transfer to the learning organisation. Research Policy, 28, 107–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Patel, P. (1995). Localised production of technology for global markets. Cambridge Journal of Economics 19(1), 141–154.Google Scholar
  22. Patel, P., Pavitt, K. (1991). Large firms in the production of the world’s technology: An important case of non-globalization. Journal of International Business Studies, 22(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Patel P., Pavitt, K. (2000). National systems of innovation under strains: The internationalization of corporate R&D. Miméo, SPRU, University of Sussex.Google Scholar
  24. Patel, P., Vega, M. (1999). Patterns of internationalization of corporate technology: location vs. home country advantages. Research Policy, 28, 145–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Zander, I. (1995). Technological diversification in the multinational corporation — Historical evolution and future prospect. In: Schiatarella R. (Ed.), New challenges for Europe and international business, Cofindustria, Rome.Google Scholar
  26. Zander, I. (1999). How do you mean “global”? An empirical investigation of innovation networks in the multinational corporation. Research Policy, 28, 195–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dominique Guellec
  • Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie
    • 1
  1. 1.Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) — Solvay Business SchoolBelgium

Personalised recommendations