IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

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

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:60:y:2013:i:c:p:170-188
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. 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).
  2. Martins, Pedro S., 2008. "Paying More to Hire the Best? Foreign Firms, Wages and Worker Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 3607, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Fredrik Sjöholm & Robert E. Lipsey, 2006. "Foreign Firms and Indonesian Manufacturing Wages: An Analysis with Panel Data," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 201-221.
  4. Girma, Sourafel & Gorg, Holger, 2007. "Evaluating the foreign ownership wage premium using a difference-in-differences matching approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 97-112, May.
  5. Almeida, Rita, 2007. "The labor market effects of foreign owned firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 75-96, May.
  6. 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.
  7. Martyn Andrews & Lutz Bellmann & Thorsten Schank & Richard Upward, . "Foreign-owned Plants and Job Security," Discussion Papers 07/36, University of Nottingham, GEP.
  8. repec:oup:restud:v:64:y:1997:i:4:p:605-54 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  10. 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.
  11. Hijzen, Alexander & Martins, Pedro S. & Schank, Thorsten & Upward, Richard, 2010. "Do Foreign-Owned Firms Provide Better Working Conditions Than Their Domestic Counterparts? A Comparative Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 5259, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Görg, Holger & Strobl, Eric, 2002. "'Footloose' Multinationals?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3402, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Heyman, Fredrik & Sjöholm, Fredrik & Gustavsson Tingvall, Patrik, 2006. "Is There Really A Foreign Ownership Wage Premium? Evidence From Matched Employer-Employee Data," EIJS Working Paper Series 230, The European Institute of Japanese Studies.
  14. Fosfuri, Andrea & Motta, Massimo & Ronde, Thomas, 2001. "Foreign direct investment and spillovers through workers' mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 205-222, February.
  15. Nikolaj Malchow-Møller & James R. Markusen & Bertel Schjerning, 2009. "Foreign Firms, Domestic Wages," CAM Working Papers 2009-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  16. Lars Vilhuber, 2009. "Adjusting Imperfect Data: Overview and Case Studies," NBER Chapters, in: The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison, pages 59-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. Glass, Amy Jocelyn & Saggi, Kamal, 2002. " Multinational Firms and Technology Transfer," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(4), pages 495-513, December.
  19. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:60:y:2013:i:c:p:170-188. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.