Impact of firm heterogeneity on direct and spillover effects of FDI: Micro-evidence from ten transition countries
Dec 3 2013
This paper presents a comparative study of the importance of direct technology transfer and spillovers through FDI on a set of 10 transition countries, using a common methodology and appropriate methods to account for selection and simultaneity correction. This paper considers by far the largest firm level dataset (more than 90,000 firms) used by any study on the spillover effects of FDI. The main novelty of the paper is the explicit control for various sources of firm heterogeneity when accounting for different effects of FDI on firm performance. This work shows that the heterogeneity of firms in terms of absorptive capacity, size, productivity and technology levels affect the results. Controlling for these variables leads to some interesting results, which contrast with the previous empirical work in the field. We find that horizontal spillovers have become increasingly important over the last decade, and they may even become more important than vertical spillovers. Positive horizontal spillovers are equally distributed across size classes of firms, while negative horizontal spillovers seem to be more likely to accrue to smaller firms. Moreover, positive horizontal spillovers seem more likely to be present in medium or high productivity firms with higher absorptive capacities, while negative horizontal spillovers are more likely to affect low to medium productivity firms. These findings suggest that both direct effects from foreign ownership as well as the spillovers from foreign firms substantially depend on the absorptive capacity and productivity level of individual firms. In addition, these results show that foreign presence may also affect smaller firms to a larger extent than larger firms, but this impact may be in either direction.