You are here

Shaker Al-mahasna

DBA Graduate - 2012

Thesis title

FDI as a channel of technology diffusion: the case of Saudi Arabia


François Thérin
Countries’ economies should be diversified as much as possible to avoid economic slumps. Saudi Arabia’s economy is highly dependent on oil as a major source of financial resources. However, diversification of economic activities requires improvement in the technological infrastructure of the country. FDI is considered a major source of technology diffusion. When foreign investors move some of their activities to a host country, they create externalities known as spillovers. Spillovers are created with support of four major channels or effects, which are demonstration-imitation, linkage, competition, and workers’ mobility. The aim of this research, hence, is to study the effects of FDI on technology diffusion in Saudi Arabia. It investigates the above mentioned four effects as channels of productivity growth and tries to analyze the spillovers resulting from foreign firms’ operations in the country. Moreover, the study tries to discover the mechanism through which FDI promotes the technology diffusion. This is done by the utilization of the Total Factor Productivity (TFP) analysis. The TFP has been utilized by previous researchers as an indicator of technology flow and separation across cities and countries. The second objective of this research is to study the local investors’ expectation of the future effects of FDI on the technology diffusion in the country. This is done by analyzing interaction between competition and linkages. It continues by analyzing the interaction between training and workers’ mobility. The third objective of this study is to provide recommendations to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), pertinent to the development of the technology diffusion in Saudi Arabia. To achieve the above mentioned objectives, a survey, composed of two parts, was developed. The first part of the survey targeted both foreign and local investors in four major geographical areas of Saudi Arabia. Those areas are the Eastern Province, Riyadh, Qassim, and Hail. The second part of the survey targeted the local investors in the same geographical areas. To conduct the data analysis of the first part of the survey, a model is developed based on the Parente and Prescott equation. The data analysis of this portion is conducted using Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression. The second part of the study is analyzed using the two way Analysis of Variance. In addition, the results of part two analysis were supported by descriptive data analysis. The research is concluded with recommendations pertinent to the development of the technology diffusion in the country. The actions that are being taken are described, based on the results of this study, and recommendations for future studies are given at the end of the research.