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Title: Technology spillovers from foreign direct investment (FDI): the case of the Republic of Korea
Author: Ha, Yoo Jung
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 5175
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis investigates conditions under which the activities of multinational enterprises (MNEs) impact upon innovation performance in host-country firms. Three specific sub-questions are addressed: 1) Do MNE subsidiary characteristics influence FDI spillovers on host-country firms? 2) Does the external technological environment in individual industries influence spillover effects? 3) Do such technology spillovers follow a linear relation with the scale of FDI? Individual empirical analyses, using firm-level data extracted from two waves (2002 and 2005) of the Korean Innovation Survey (KIS) in the Republic of Korea (South Korea), are used to examine these questions. The first finding is that FDI spillovers vary depending on the subsidiary’s heterogeneous role. In this regard, we build on recent theoretical contributions made by the network-based view of MNEs, distinguishing heterogeneous subsidiary roles into either competence-creating (CC) or competence-exploiting (CE). Our results show that CC subsidiaries generate negative horizontal and positive backward spillovers, but no forward spillovers. Against this, CE subsidiaries generate positive horizontal and forward spillovers and negative backward spillovers. The second finding concerns the moderating role assumed by the type of business environment in the host country during foreign entry, especially in terms of environment velocity. We build on strategic management literature that the behaviour and performance of a firm is influenced by environment velocity, finding that environment velocity affects backward (negatively) and forward spillovers (positively), but not horizontal spillovers. The third finding concerns non-linear (linear) impacts of FDI spillover across different scales of FDI in a sector, building on existing studies predicting a changing marginal effect of horizontal spillovers. We took this a step further by comparing horizontal spillovers on local rivals and vertical spillovers on local partners, either suppliers or clients. The key contributions are two-fold: firstly, this thesis proposes revising implicit assumptions in the extant literature by identifying conditions of FDI spillovers concerning subsidiary heterogeneity and business environment type, and also by confirming the non-linear effect of horizontal and backward FDI spillovers. Secondly, it provides a glimpse of FDI spillovers in a technologically capable host country in East Asia. The findings stress various implications, including the usefulness of international business theories for assessing the role of MNE activities in host economies.
Supervisor: Yamin, M.; Giroud, Axele Sponsor: Manchester Business School
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Foreign direct investment ; Technology spillovers ; Competence-creating subsidiaries ; Environment velocity ; Non-linear effect ; Relative absorptive capacity