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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  1. 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.
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  7. 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.
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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. Glass, Amy Jocelyn & Saggi, Kamal, 1999. "Multinational firms and technology transfer," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2067, The World Bank.
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  14. Nikolaj Malchow-Møller & James R. Markusen & Bertel Schjerning, 2007. "Foreign Firms, Domestic Wages," NBER Working Papers 13001, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Pedro S. Martins, 2008. "Paying More to Hire the Best? Foreign Firms, Wages and Worker Mobility," Working Papers 17, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  16. 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.
  17. Martyn Andrews & Lutz Bellmann & Thorsten Schank & Richard Upward, 2012. "Foreign-owned plants and job security," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 148(1), pages 89-117, April.
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