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The Handbook of Global Science, Technology, and Innovation by Andrea Filippetti, Daniele Archibugi

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Chapter 14 Multinational Enterprises Innovation Networks and the Role of Cities

Simona Iammarino and Philip McCann

Introduction

One of the crucial aspects of the current phase of economic globalization lies in the new modes of creating and diffusing new knowledge and technology. The central role played by contemporary multinational enterprises (MNEs) in such processes has been analyzed in a variety of scholarly perspectives, and emphasis has been placed on the metamorphosis of the MNE from mere “vehicle” of technical knowledge to “creator” of new technology (e.g., Cantwell 1994; Archibugi and Iammarino 2002; Ietto-Gillies, this volume, Chapter 6). MNEs are today the largest source of technology generation, transfer, and diffusion in the world. In comparison with all other firm types, the share of new technologies produced globally by MNEs is increasing; they are associated with a higher probability of entry into new and cutting-edge technological fields; they account for the great bulk of expenditure on knowledge-creating and skill-enhancing activities, and of trade in technology and technology-intensive products (UNCTAD 2009, 2013). MNE access to a broad variety of sources of new knowledge, both intra- and inter-firm, provides immense opportunities to acquire new competitive advantages for both the firm itself and all the actors involved in its networks.

On the other hand, such MNE networks of internal and external sources of knowledge and information have obvious geographical ...

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