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Foreign-owned firms around the world: A comparative analysis of wages and employment at the micro-level

  • Hijzen, Alexander
  • Martins, Pedro S.
  • Schank, Thorsten
  • Upward, Richard

This paper provides the first microeconomic cross-country analysis of the effects of foreign ownership on wages, employment and worker turnover rates. Using firm-level and linked worker-firm data, we apply a standardised methodology for three developed (Germany, Portugal, UK) and two emerging economies (Brazil, Indonesia). We find that wage effects are larger in developing countries, and that for each country the largest effect on wages comes from workers who move from domestic to foreign firms. Employment growth after foreign takeover is concentrated in high-skill jobs. In contrast to widespread fears, there is no evidence that wage gains come at the expense of greater job insecurity; separation rates actually fall slightly after takeover. We conclude that the positive effect of foreign ownership on wages is not primarily driven by its impact on incumbent wages, but by its impact on the creation of high-wage jobs.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 60 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 170-188

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:60:y:2013:i:c:p:170-188
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  1. Robert E. Lipsey & Fredrik Sjoholm, 2003. "Foreign Firms and Indonesian Manufacturing Wages: An Analysis With Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 9417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. Dirk Willem te Velde, 2003. "Do Workers in Africa Get a Wage Premium if Employed in Firms Owned by Foreigners?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(1), pages 41-73, March.
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  9. Giorgio Barba Navaretti & Daniele Checchi & Alessandro Turrini, 2002. "Adjusting Labour Demand: Multinationals vs. National Firms: A Cross-European Analysis," Development Working Papers 168, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
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  11. Francesca Fabbri & Jonathan E. Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2003. "Does Nationality Of Ownership Matter For Labor Demands?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 698-707, 04/05.
  12. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  14. Heyman, Fredrik & Sjoholm, Fredrik & Tingvall, Patrik Gustavsson, 2007. "Is there really a foreign ownership wage premium? Evidence from matched employer-employee data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 355-376, November.
  15. Hijzen, Alexander & Martins, Pedro S. & Schank, Thorsten & Upward, Richard, 2013. "Foreign-owned firms around the world: A comparative analysis of wages and employment at the micro-level," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 170-188.
  16. Pedro S. Martins, 2011. "Paying More To Hire The Best? Foreign Firms, Wages, And Worker Mobility," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(2), pages 349-363, 04.
  17. Martins, Pedro S., 2004. "Do Foreign Firms Really Pay Higher Wages? Evidence from Different Estimators," IZA Discussion Papers 1388, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Lipsey, Robert E. & Sjoholm, Fredrik, 2004. "Foreign direct investment, education and wages in Indonesian manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 415-422, February.
  19. Martyn Andrews & Lutz Bellmann & Thorsten Schank & Richard Upward, . "Foreign-owned Plants and Job Security," Discussion Papers 07/36, University of Nottingham, GEP.
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