International joint ventures and internal technology transfer vs. external technology spillovers: Evidence from China

Kun JIANG*, Wolfgang KELLER, Larry D. QIU, Willian RIDLEY

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


We study the economics of international joint ventures using administrative data for China. We first show that foreign investors choose Chinese partners that are relatively large, productive, and more innovative to set up their joint venture. Using a difference-in-differences framework, we then provide evidence that joint ventures lead to domestic benefits in the form of productivity and technological spillovers to both the Chinese partners in joint ventures as well as other domestic Chinese firms. Exploiting the easing of joint venture requirements as China entered the WTO in the year 2001, we further show that intraindustry spillovers from joint ventures to other domestic firms increased in the wake of China’s WTO accession, consistent with gains from foreign technology rising due to enhanced commitment through the rules-based WTO system. Our results shed new light on the efficacy of FDI performance requirements as well as on claims regarding international technology transfer that underpinned the China-US trade war.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103939
JournalJournal of International Economics
Early online date23 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier B.V.


  • International joint ventures
  • Joint venture partner firms
  • Partner selection
  • Technology spillovers

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