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Industry and entrepreneurship

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Multinational enterprises and intangible capital

This paper provides new evidence on the role of intangible capital in global value chains (GVCs) by focusing on the role of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and their foreign affiliates in value capture through intangible assets. Industry-level data suggest that foreign affiliates of MNEs generate more income through intangible capital than domestic-owned firms. Intangible returns from foreign affiliates are found both in the host economy and in foreign-owned firms in other countries participating in the GVC. Some heterogeneity is observed across GVCs with returns to intangible capital of foreign-owned firms concentrated in key manufacturing (chemicals including pharmaceuticals, food products, ICT and electronics, and motor vehicles) and services GVCs (finance and insurance, other business services, wholesale and retail, and telecoms). Five case studies (Adidas, AstraZeneca, Rocket Internet, Starbucks and Tata Consultancy Services) complement the analysis by looking at the role of intangible capital in the GVC of specific MNEs.

Available from September 09, 2021

In series:OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papersview more titles