Uneingeschränkter Zugang

International Trade and Foreign Direct Investment as Innovation Factors of the U.S. Economy


The aim of this research is to asses the hypothesis that foreign direct investment (FDI) and international trade have had a positive impact on innovation in one of the most significant economies in the world, the United States (U.S.). To do so, the author used annual data from 1995 to 2010 to build a set of econometric models. In each model, 11 in total) the number of patent applications by U.S. residents is regressed on inward FDI stock, exports and imports of the economy as a collective, and in each of the 10 SITC groups separately.

Although the topic of FDI is widely covered in the literature, there are still disagreements when it comes to the impact of foreign direct investment on the host economy [McGrattan, 2011]. To partially address this gap, this research approaches the host economy not only as an aggregate, but also as a sum of its components (i.e., SITC groups), which to the knowledge of this author has not yet been done on the innovation-FDI-trade plane, especially for the U.S.

Unfortunately, the study suffers from the lack of available data. For example, the number of patents and other used variables is reported in the aggregate and not for each SITC groups (e.g., trade). As a result, our conclusions regarding exports and imports in a specific SITC category (and the total) impact innovation in the U.S. is reported in the aggregate.

General notions found in the literature are first shown and discussed. Second, the dynamics of innovation, trade and inward FDI stock in the U.S. are presented. Third, the main portion of the work, i.e. the econometric study, takes place, leading to several policy applications and conclusions.