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The Tangible Contribution of R&D Spending Foreign-Owned Plants to a Host Region: a Plant Level Study of the Irish Manufacturing Sector (1980-1996)

By A Kearns and F Ruane


Using plant level data from the Irish manufacturing sector, we explore the relationship between foreign direct investment (FDI) and economic growth in Ireland. The central question explored in this paper is whether the tangible contribution of MNC plants which undertake R&D investment in Ireland is greater than the tangible contribution of MNC plants which undertake no R&D investment. We conclude that the scale of R&D activity in a plant is an important determinant in (i) lengthening the duration over which that plant will remain in Ireland and (ii) in improving the quality of employment created in that plant.

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