Technological Exchange Between the United States and Europe: An Attempt in Explaining Shifting Perceptions.
The rapid transfer of technical knowledge is a feature of international economic life and one of the least understood by economic theory. Although the technology gap between Europe (or Japan) and the United States is real, it is difficult to measure or even define, and it does not today appear to threaten world economic balance. Technology now crosses the oceans in both directions--through investing, licensing, setting up foreign subsidiaries, and direct export. A decade ago, the multinational corporations (then almost exclusively based in the United States) appeared to be causes of the gap, but as major exporters of technology, they must now be counted as one of its cures. Government support of defense-oriented R&D, in the case of the United States, contributed to U.S. technological preeminence; when attempted by European governments, such support failed. There are probably factors that would justify support of technology by European governments, but to evaluate them will require studies that have barely begun. 21 pp.