Bio-Piracy: When Western Firms Usurp Eastern Medicine

Raj Choudhury and Tarun Khanna examine the history of herbal patent applications, challenging a stereotype that characterizes Western firms as innovators and emerging markets as imitators. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Return Migration and Geography of Innovation in MNEs: A Natural Experiment of On-the-Job Learning of Knowledge Production by Local Workers Reporting to Return Migrants

Since the mid-1990s, a large number of multinational enterprises (MNEs) have set up research and development centers in China, India, and other emerging markets. Such MNEs face constraints in expanding their "geography of innovation" —that of producing and transferring knowledge across borders—because for the MNE knowledge is likely to be localized within larger, more established centers of knowledge production. How do MNEs in emerging markets circumvent this constraint? In this paper, the author uses personnel data from a Fortune 50 technology firm and studies the role of return migrants in facilitating patenting at the emerging market R&D center. The author also studies on-the-job learning of knowledge production by local employees who report to return migrants at an emerging-market R&D setting. The findings generate insights into the functioning of 'internal labor markets' of multinationals. The results are also important for managers: Given the great many Fortune 500 MNE R&D centers in countries such as China and India, and the large fraction of these centers managed by return migrants, the findings may assist those who set up and manage current and future MNE R&D centers. Read More