What determines overseas R&D activities? The case of Japanese multinational firms

Satoshi Shimizutani*, Yasuyuki Todo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores what factors determine the nature, extent, and location of Japanese multinationals' R&D activities abroad. Taking advantage of a rich micro-level dataset from the survey on Japanese overseas subsidiaries, the study distinguishes between two types of overseas R&D: basic/applied research and development/design. We find several differences between the determinants of those R&D activities. These differences confirm the view that basic/applied research of overseas subsidiaries aims at the exploitation of foreign advanced knowledge, whereas their development/design activities are mostly influenced by the market size of the host country. Our results provide a convincing and comprehensive explanation of the geographical distribution of overseas R&D by Japanese MNEs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-544
Number of pages15
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Locational choice
  • Multinational enterprises
  • Multinomial logit estimation
  • Overseas R&D activities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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